Editor's note: Laura Coates is a CNN senior legal analyst. She is a former assistant US attorney for the District of Columbia and trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. The views expressed in this commentary are her own.
After 195 days, no officer has been arrested or charged for killing Breonna Taylor.
Wednesday's grand jury indictment of former Louisville Det. Brett Hankison hasn't brought justice for the death of Breonna Taylor. Hankison was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment charges because, prosecutors say, bullets from his firearm entered a neighboring apartment where three residents were home. In truth, this has changed nothing.
Justice feels like the elusive carrot that is dangled but never caught.
Consider the fact that Hankison was charged for shooting in the manner that could have killed someone.
No officer has been charged for the fact that someone actually did die.
Here's the apparent logic behind that decision: Sgt. John Mattingly, Det. Myles Cosgrove and now-fired Det. Hankison executed a warrant on Taylor's residence. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, inside the home at the time, feared they were the victims of a home invasion when the officers banged on the door but, according to Walker, didn't respond when Taylor asked "Who is it?" before breaking down the door.
As the front door was broken down, Walker fired one shot at the first person to enter the apartment, hitting Mattingly. Mattingly and Cosgrove, returning fire in the direction of Walker, shot six and 16 times respectively, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said. Hankison, meanwhile, indiscriminately and, according to interim Louisville Police chief Robert Schroeder, "blindly" fired 10 rounds into the apartment.
Collectively, the three officers fired more than 30 rounds. Cameron, citing medical evidence obtained by his team, said that six bullets struck Breonna Taylor, with one being fatal. Taylor was in the hallway with Walker when she was struck. Prosecutors could not determine who fired the fatal shot or if Hankinson ever shot Taylor, but ultimately concluded that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force and would not be charged in Taylor's death. Hankison's attorney has declined to comment.
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