Former Louisville detective Brett Hankison testified in his own defense Wednesday about his actions during the police raid that left Breonna Taylor dead, saying the gunfire began with a muzzle flash that illuminated a shadowy silhouette, and he thought it was someone firing an automatic rifle at his fellow officers.
Hankison is not on trial for the 26-year-old Black woman’s death but for firing bullets that went into an adjacent apartment, endangering a pregnant neighbor, her young child, and her boyfriend.
Asked if he did anything wrong during the raid, Hankison replied, “absolutely not,” even though he acknowledged firing into the window and patio door. As for Taylor, he said, “She didn’t need to die that night.” Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, then stormed out of the courtroom.
Hankison said that as a police battering ram broke open Taylor’s door, the blast of a gun lit up the apartment’s hallway and his fellow officer fell wounded in the doorway. He said he thought the muzzle flash matched that of a long rifle, but no rifle was found in the apartment.