Trial for former officer involved in Breonna Taylor raid begins

By Mike Hayes and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 7:32 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022
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6:22 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Day 1 of testimony in the trial of Brett Hankison has concluded

From CNN's Aaron Cooper

The first day of testimony in the trial of Brett Hankison has ended. In total six witnesses were called.

In their opening statements, prosecutors described the former Louisville Metro Police officer firing through an apartment despite being unable to see a target. Prosecutors claimed that in the process, Hankison endangered three people next door

The former police officer faces three counts of felony wanton endangerment for how he fired his gun.

Defense lawyer Stewart Mathews described a chaotic scene during which an officer was shot, and promised that after hearing the evidence the jury would find that Hankison’s actions were justified.

Cody Etherton, who lived in the neighboring apartment, described bullets coming through his walls and nearly hitting him. 

Prosecutors then called four officers who were on-site with Hankison for the raid that ultimately led to the 2020 shooting death of Breonna Taylor. The witnesses described knocking on the door, an exchange with a neighbor, the breaking down of Taylor's door, and eventually the shooting.   

Testimony concluded with a witness from the police department’s Public Integrity Unit — Jason Vance — describing his investigation into the shooting and displaying photos of the scene. 

Vance's testimony will continue Thursday morning.

On Friday, Jurors will take a trip to view the apartment complex themselves.

6:20 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Jurors in the Brett Hankison trial were shown photos of the scene where Breonna Taylor was shot

From CNN's Aaron Cooper

Wednesday’s testimony in the trial of former Louisville Police Officer Brett Hankison concluded with jurors being shown photos of bullets and other ballistic evidence at the scene. 

Jason Vance, who was with the public integrity unit in March 2020 and investigated the shooting involving Breonna Taylor and Hankison, was the day's last witness.

Vance displayed a series of photos taken at the crime scene which offered, among other things, the following images:

  • Hankison’s spent bullet casings in the parking lot.
  • Bullet holes in windows and the building.
  • Several other “weathered” bullet casings which were found nearby from prior shootings (Vance suggested some of these casings could have been leftover from a July 4 celebration months earlier.) 

In total, five bullets went through Taylor's sliding glass door, all of which were fired from Hankison’s gun, Vance testified. 

All of Hankison’s bullet casings were found in the parking lot, while all of the casings outside the apartment door were from the weapons of his law enforcement colleagues, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove. 

A bullet found in Taylor’s dresser drawer, one on a soap shelf in the bathtub, and one in an air conditioner area were from Hankison’s gun, said Vance. 

Additional photos showed bullets found in the neighboring apartment.

Vance testified that aside from the bullet that hit Mattingly in the leg, there were no signs of bullets being fired out of the apartment towards the officers.

A photo also showed a letter Jamarcus Glover — the subject of the investigation —sent Breonna Taylor, as well as a series of bills sent to Glover at Taylor's address. 

One additional photo showed Taylor’s lifeless body at the end of a hallway, while Vance also pointed out — in aerial photos — where Taylor's apartment was located within the complex. 

Taylor also shared with the jury the process of gathering evidence at the scene and informing Breonna Taylor’s mother what had transpired. 

LMPD secured the scene from the time of the shooting until he arrived, Vance added. His testimony will continue Thursday morning.

4:39 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Louisville officer testifies that a neighbor's interruption resulted in a delay at Taylor's door

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Louisville police officer Michael Campbell testified that police spent an unusually long amount of time knocking at the door of Breonna Taylor on the evening of March 13, 2020.

"We knocked for a really long time," he said during Wednesday's testimony, adding that Campbell and his colleagues then, "began announcing that we were the police."

Traditionally cops might knock for anywhere between "eight to 30 seconds," said Campbell.

However, on the evening in question, an upstairs neighbor emerged from his home, disrupting traditional police protocol.

It was Brett Hankinson, the officer standing trial, who ultimately coerced the neighbor back into his home, Campbell said.

"Detective Hankinson got him to go back in," said Campbell. "He was really assertive."

However, this process of engaging with the neighbor delayed the procedure.

"We knocked for a while, some time passes ... it got louder and louder and louder. Then, that person came out. We engaged ... talking to that guy, then we went back to knocking some more," Campbell said, adding, "that seemed like a really long time to me."

When asked by Stew Mathews, who represents Hankison, if such a delay was dangerous in its nature, and Campbell testified in the affirmative.

"In hindsight, yes," said Campbell. "But at the time, we didn't anticipate this happening."

What followed was a flurry of events which included the breaching of the front door, and a collection of gunshots, one of which injured fellow officer Jonathan Mattingly.

During the scene, which Cambell described as "chaotic" and "very loud," he noted that he did not observe Hankinson discharging his weapon.

"I never saw him fire a shot," Campbell said, adding that Hankinson did get "on the radio, and said that they were shooting at us with a rifle."

4:36 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

LMPD sergeant testifies about notifying Breonna Taylor's mother that her daughter was dead

From CNN's Mike Hayes

Sgt. Jason Vance, an officer with the LMPD Public Integrity Unit, testified about telling Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother, that Taylor was dead inside her apartment.

Vance testified that the Public Integrity Unit's primary task is investigating all officer-involved shootings by LMPD officers. He said that he got notice around 1 a.m. that night about the shooting at Taylor's apartment and responded to the location.

He said that when Palmer arrived at the scene that night he had a "tough conversation with her about the condition of her daughter."

Vance testified that "there was no doubt, it was clear, that Breonna was still in that apartment, deceased."

Vance added that he provided Palmer with information including the name of the coroner and offered to connect the family with a department chaplin.

"It was a very hard conversation," he said.

3:50 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Another officer involved in the Taylor raid testifies

From Aaron Cooper in Louisville

Anthony James was among the officers who volunteered to help search the warrants on the evening in question. 

He recalls being told in the briefing that there might be “dope” or money at a location. 

The search was to be no-knock, but was changed to a “knock and announce” warrant before James got there. 

At the scene, James had a shield that he used.

He gathered around the door with the other officers when they knocked on the door. 

“Sgt. [Jonathan] Mattingly knocked for a long, long time,” James testified. 

Every officer — except Mike Nobles, who had the ram — had their pistol drawn as they prepared to break down the door. 

Brett Hankison was to the side, and couldn’t have seen through the door, he said. 

James testified he couldn’t see anything inside the door since it was dark.

After the shooting James went with Mattingly in the ambulance to the hospital.

He later went to the Public Integrity Unit.

James did not fire his gun because he did not have a clear, identifiable target, he testified.

3:47 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Officer who broke down door of Breonna Taylor's apartment testifies for the prosecution

From CNN's Aaron Cooper in Louisville

Sgt. Mike Nobles, of the Louisville Metro Police Department, testified for the prosecution about his part in the raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment.

They met at a nearby church to wait until the primary subject of the investigation, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested elsewhere. 

After warrants were executed on Elliott Ave, Nobles and his team went to Taylor’s apartment complex and approached her door.

Nobles was on the right side of the door, Jonathan Mattingly was on the left side of the door and Myles Cosgrove was in the middle.  

Officers knocked “four or five times” and announced “police,” he said. 

A man from the floor above came out and told officers to leave, Nobles said. It took Hankison and Lt. Shawn Hoover’s attention off the door, so they could deal with the man upstairs. 

Nobles rammed the door three times and it flew open, he said. 

“As soon as it opened, Sgt. Mattingly took half a step inside… and he started yelling no, no, no, and took a shot to the groin. He stepped back and started to fire,” he said. 

It happened so fast Nobles didn’t even have time to draw his pistol, and he never identified a target, he said. 

The officers administered first aid to Mattingly and took him to the ambulance. 

Nobles went to the hospital for about an hour, but then was asked to go to the public integrity unit to give a statement. 

Nobles said he never saw Hankison fire his weapon, and does not recall if he was with them at the door. On cross examination, Nobles told defense attorney Stewart Mathews that he had worked with Hankison for years and was a friend. 

Nobles was told at the briefing that a female and a younger sibling could be in the apartment, and it was where Jamarcus Glover stayed.

The difference between a knock and announce and a no-knock search warrant is only about 15 seconds, Nobles told the jury, however, they waited for two to three minutes at Taylor’s apartment because of the upstairs neighbor yelling at them. 

Nobles did hear someone inside the apartment say “who is it,” he said.

They yelled “police” and banged on the door again, he said, before it was broken down. 

Hankison was watching him ram the door, and at some point said hurry up and get the door open.  

Nobles never was able to look down the hallway into the apartment since he stepped out of the way when the door opened. 

Mattingly fired first and Cosgrove fired next, he said.

Nobles did not know where Hankison was at this time.

At one point he heard someone say “long gun,” and tried to take shelter under the stairs. 

It seemed like “an eternity” from the time when Nobles hit the door to the time the shooting stopped. 

Mattingly was one of Noble’s best friends, he testified. 

Nobles did see Hankison briefly in the ER, he said. 

There was a bullet in Mattingly’s wallet when it was photographed, Nobles said.

3:39 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Hankison volunteered to be part of Breonna Taylor apartment raid, Louisville police officer testifies

From CNN's Mike Hayes

Louisville Metro Police Department Sergeant Kyle Meany provided details on the Louisville police investigation that led to the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment in March 2020.

During cross examination by Brett Hankison's defense attorney Stew Mathews, Meany said the LMPD developed intelligence that showed that Taylor's ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover was involved in drug trafficking in the city. Meany testified that Glover was "fairly high up" in the trafficking organization that was operating out of multiple Louisville houses.

Meany testified that Taylor's address came on the police radar after it came up during a search for Glover's known address. He said that a bank account that police subpoenaed for Glover listed Taylor's address, too.

Meany said that LMPD intended to serve five warrants at different locations connected to the alleged drug trafficking organization.

Meany was asked to describe "no-knock" warrants during his questioning. He said that a no-knock warrant gives officers the "authority" to "force entry" to a location without announcing their presence. He said that no-knock warrants are commonly used when police are "concerned somebody might destroy evidence" or "conceal stuff" or there is the potential for violence.

Meany confirmed that a no-knock warrant was sought for Taylor's apartment that night. However, he said that it was later changed to a "knock and announce" warrant because the location had a lower "risk score" and the need for SWAT was lower.

Meany testified that Hankison volunteered to be part of the raid on Taylor's apartment that night. Hankison, who worked as a K-9 officer, volunteered to be part of the team for that location along with his dog, Franklin.

On redirect questioning, Assistant Attorney General Barbara Whaley asked Meany if there was an "urgency or danger" at Taylor's apartment ahead of the raid. "No, ma'am," the sergeant responded.

Meany's testimony has concluded.

1:41 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

Hankison trial resumes after lunch break

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

The trial for Brett Hankison, the ex-Louisville cop involved in the deadly Breonna Taylor raid, has resumed.

Sergeant Kyle Meany is currently being cross-examined by Stew Mathews, who represents Hankison.

12:37 p.m. ET, February 23, 2022

The trial is on a lunch break

From CNN's Aaron Cooper

The trial for Brett Hankison, the ex-Louisville cop involved in the deadly Breonna Taylor raid, has taken a break for lunch.

The trial is expected to resume at 1:15 p.m. local time, with the cross-examination of Sergeant Kyle Meany.