Two Louisville police officers were fired Wednesday for their roles in Breonna Taylor’s death, which sparked protests against police racial violence last summer.
Taylor was killed last March when officers performed a no-knock warrant on her house. Neighbors testified that they did not hear police announce themselves before breaking in. Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker thought the police were intruders and fired a warning shot in self-defense. The police fired 32 rounds in response, hitting Taylor six times.
Myles Cosgrove, one of the fired officers, fired the shot that killed Taylor. He was terminated for violating the Louisville Metro Police Department’s (LMPD) use of force policy and failing to turn on his body camera. The LMPD’s policy states that “the person against whom force is used must pose an immediate threat of death or serious injury.” Cosgrove fired 16 shots in three different directions, suggesting that he did not “verify a threat or have target acquisition.”
Joshua Jaynes, the other officer facing termination, was not present during the failed raid. He prepared the warrant used in the attack. The LMPD found that he was untruthful in providing the basis for the warrant. Jaynes told the judge that the post office confirmed that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, whom police were investigating for drug trafficking, was having packages delivered to her house. However, Jaynes had not personally verified this statement by the post office, despite swearing under oath that he did.
Brett Hankinson, another officer involved in Taylor’s death, was fired in June. He also violated the LMPD’s deadly force policy by blindly firing 10 shots into her apartment through a door, making it impossible for him to have identified any perceived threat. He was indicted on charges of wanton endangerment for shooting into a neighboring apartment.
Neither Cosgrove nor Jaynes is currently facing criminal charges. They have 10 days to appeal their terminations.