More than six months ago, Louisville, Kentucky police broke open Breonna Taylor’s front door and then fatally shot the 26-year-old EMT in her home.
Since then, the killing has spurred national Black Lives Matter protests and placed a greater focus on how policing impacts Black women. Locally, her death led to the passage of “Breonna’s Law,” banning no-knock warrants, and the hiring of a new interim Louisville police chief.
On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted former detective Brett Hankison on three charges of first-degree wanton endangerment for allegedly firing blindly into the apartment and endangering neighbors
Two other officers who shot at Taylor, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Det. Myles Cosgrove, were not indicted. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said they were justified in shooting out of self-defense because Taylor’s boyfriend fired first. As such, no charges were directly connected to Taylor’s death.
Here’s a look at what’s happened in the nearly six months since her death.
On March 12, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge approved five search warrants for locations linked to Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, a convicted felon suspected of supplying a local drug house. One of those locations belonged to Taylor.
Hours later, in the early morning of March 13, officers arrived at Taylor’s apartment and began pounding on the door, an officer later told investigators.
Taylor was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III, who said he heard banging at the door just after midnight. Concerned there might be trouble, he grabbed his gun, which his attorney said he legally owns. They yelled to ask who was at the door but got no response, he said afterward.
The officers used a battering ram to break in the door, and Walker then fired one shot at who he believed were intruders. Mattingly, who was first through the door, was shot in the leg. He and two other officers – Hankison and Cosgrove – then returned fire throughout the home.
Walker was unharmed, but Taylor was shot multiple times and died in the shooting.
“Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker said in a 911 call.
Walker was taken away in handcuffs and a grand jury later indictment him on attempted murder of a police officer.
No drugs were found in the apartment. There is no police body camera footage of the incident.
Mattingly, Hankison and Cosgrove were placed on administrative leave.
Taylor’s family and their attorney have maintained she was not involved in her ex-boyfriend’s alleged drug deals.
In May, Walker’s defense attorney filed a motion to have the indictment dismissed, saying the prosecution’s presentation to the panel “completely mischaracterizes” what took place that night. A day later, the Louisville area’s top local prosecutor agreed to have the indictment against Walker dismissed.
Two months after the shooting, Taylor’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officers involved, and prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump joined the family’s legal team. To settle the suit, Louisville agreed in September to pay $12 million to Taylor’s family and enact several police reforms.
CNN covered the story for the first time on May 13.
On May 21, the FBI’s Louisville office announced they were opening an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death. That same day, the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department announced it would require all sworn officers to wear body cameras. The LMPD also said it would change how the department carries out search warrants in response to Taylor’s death.
The death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis brought renewed attention to police killings across the country. In Louisville and elsewhere, Black Lives Matters protesters marched for justice in the name of Floyd, Taylor and others.
A week later, Louisville police officers fatally shot a local Black business owner, David McAtee, during a protest. Video released by police appeared to show McAtee firing at officers before he was fatally shot. Police Chief Steve Conrad was fired after officials learned that the officers had not activated their body cameras.
In late June, more than three months after Taylor’s death, Hankison was fired for “blindly” firing 10 rounds into her apartment that night.
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote in a letter announcing the termination. “I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.”
In the months since, Taylor’s plight has been taken up not only by demonstrators but by celebrities like NBA star LeBron James and Oprah Winfrey, who put the EMT on the cover of her namesake magazine.
In July, protesters marched to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s front lawn, and 87 people were arrested for criminal trespass, among other charges.
On August 12, Cameron met with Taylor’s family for the first time, more than 150 days after Louisville Police killed her in her home. Cameron’s office said in a statement he was “grateful” to hold the meeting, which included Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, sister, aunt, family attorneys and a local activist.
The police department had another shakeup this month. Yvette Gentry, a longtime police officer who worked as chief of community building in city government, was appointed interim police chief on September 7. She replaces Schroeder, who is retiring, and is the first Black woman to serve as police chief in Louisville.
“This is going to signal some change,” she said in an opening press conference. “A new day is coming.”
Cameron said Wednesday that his office’s investigation took so long because of its thoroughness, and interviews continued up to September 18. He presented the case to the grand jury this week, the grand jury returned the indictment on Wednesday, and Cameron spoke at a press conference shortly afterward.
“I know that not everyone will be satisfied,” he said of the decision. “Our job is to present the facts to the grand jury, and the grand jury then applies the facts.”
CNN’s Christina Carrega, Elizabeth Joseph, Scott Glover, Collette Richards, Curt Devine and Drew Griffin contributed to this report.