Former Philly-area law enforcement officials give perspective on Breonna Taylor case findings

Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Former law enforcement officials in the Philadelphia region are sharing their perspective on the Breonna Taylor case findings.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Former law enforcement officials in the Philadelphia region are sharing their perspective on the Breonna Taylor case findings.

On Wednesday, officials announced that Louisville Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13 that claimed the life of Taylor.

A grand jury brought no charges for killing Taylor, who was shot multiple times by police who burst into her home during a drug raid gone wrong. While there were no drugs in Taylor's apartment, her boyfriend shot and wounded a police officer. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the officers' shots that killed Taylor were fired in self-defense.

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"The tragedy was that Breonna Taylor died," said former Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood.

Delving into the case, a grand jury found that when officers entered the apartment occupied by Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, officers had in fact knocked before entering.

"Apparently they did knock. I mean Mr. Walker even says they knocked, and one witness did say they did hear the officers announce," said former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

Walker claims he fired at officers striking one in the thigh, thinking they were intruders.

"When an officer is shot, officers are gonna respond likewise and they're gonna shoot back," said Chitwood.

"They were justified in returning fire in my opinion. Nobody had any of this information that we're discussing now," said Ramsey. "Unfortunately Ms. Taylor was struck and killed."

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Although it could not be proven who fired the fatal shot, the grand jury ultimately charged Hankison with wanton endangerment for allegedly recklessly firing 10 rounds into a neighbor's apartment.

"As time goes on in the trial, if it's a fair trial, it's gonna be very, very difficult even though he probably was certainly wrong in what he did," said Chitwood.

Although the grand jury found that the officers had not served a so-called 'no knock warrant' used as an element of surprise on violent suspects, since they did in fact know, the attorney general is appointing a task force to review how warrants are granted and processed. For his part, Chitwood welcomes that.

"If we can make it better and they're gonna do all these study groups and task forces to make our job easier or better, then I'm all for it," said Chitwood.

The attorney for Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, one of the other officers involved, who was shot in the thigh had this statement, "The death of Breonna Taylor is a tragedy but these officers did not act in a reckless or unprofessional manner. They did their duty."