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Brett Hankison trial: Testimony and a tour of Taylor’s apartment complex

Brett Hankison arrives at the Jefferson County Judicial Center on Feb. 8, 2022.
Brett Hankison arrives at the Jefferson County Judicial Center on Feb. 8, 2022.

Touring the scene of the raid

On Friday, jurors from the criminal trial of ex-Louisville police officer Brett Hankison toured the South End apartment complex where Breonna Taylor lived in March 2020. 

Hankison’s trial is not related to Taylor’s death. He faces felony wanton endangerment charges because three bullets he shot during the raid of Taylor’s home went into a neighboring apartment. There were two adults and one child inside.

Jurors toured Taylor’s apartment and the one next door, and were in and out in under 10 minutes. The judge instructed them not to discuss it with each other or any of the attorneys involved in the case. 

Hankison's defense attorney, Stew Matthews, said he wants jurors to see firsthand the setting of the March 13 events. In an interview with WFPL News earlier this month, Matthews said, “When you see it with your very own eyes, it’s different than looking at a photograph.”

The visit will not be considered as evidence. It’s intended to help jurors visualize court exhibits and testimony. 

In-court testimony 

Earlier Friday, at the Jefferson County Judicial Center in downtown Louisville, Robert Schroeder, former interim chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, completed his testimony from the day prior. He spoke about his decision to fire Hankison after reviewing findings from the shooting investigation.

Herman Hall, an investigator with the Attorney General’s Department of Criminal Investigations, also took the stand. Hall discussed an interview with a man who was at Taylor’s apartment complex at the time of the shooting, and who said he heard police announce themselves. 

Steven Hughes, a firearms identification expert with the Kentucky State Police, provided information about Hankison’s gun and its mechanisms. 

Three FBI officials — a special agent at the Lexington office and two forensic experts from Quantico, Va. — testified about evidence the FBI collected from Taylor’s apartment; rifle casings found both outside the building and inside Taylor’s apartment; and a reconstruction of the shooting.

Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, and younger sister, Ju’Niyah Palmer, were in the courtroom Friday 

Thursday, Ju’Niyah said she was “escorted out of the courthouse” along with Tamika. She said it was because they wore clothes referencing Taylor and displaying her likeness. Officials haven’t elaborated on why the pair was asked to leave.

In an Instagram post following their removal Thursday morning, Ju’Niyah called on supporters to arrive at the courthouse with “Breonna gear” the next day. 

Neither of the Palmers wore any such garments to court Friday. One person answered Ju’Niyah’s social media call and arrived wearing a sweatshirt with a drawing of Taylor’s face. He was not asked to leave. 

Day four of Hankison’s trial will resume on Tuesday morning. 

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