The former Louisville Metro Police Department detective was the only officer charged in connection with the March 2020 shooting, but the charges were not for her death.
Hankison was tried for firing bullets through Taylor’s window and sliding glass door that went into a neighboring apartment where three people were present. The defense argued that Hankison acted to defend his fellow officers — including one who had been shot — in a chaotic situation.
“Justice was done. The verdict was proper and we are thrilled,” defense attorney Stewart Mathews said.
Prosecutors said they respected the verdict but declined to speak further to the media.
Had he been convicted, Hankison faced one to five years in prison for each charge.
In court, prosecutors called 26 witnesses as they argued that Hankison shot blindly into a window from outside the apartment in a direction perpendicular to where the shot originated. His gunfire went through Taylor’s apartment and endangered a man, a pregnant woman and her 5-year-old son who lived next door, prosecutors said.
“One or two more inches and I would have been shot,” testified the neighbor, Cody Etherton.
Jurors heard a nearly hourlong taped interview the former officer gave an investigator on March 25, 2020, in which he described officers as “sitting ducks.” He also took the stand to testify on Wednesday and said he believed his fellow officers were being gunned down by someone with a rifle as they tried to help a wounded colleague.
“I knew they were trying to get to him, and it appeared to me they were being executed with this rifle,” Hankison said. No rifle was found at the scene. In opening statements, the prosecutor said only a Glock pistol was found inside the apartment.
Hankison said he did not realize at the time that there was another apartment positioned directly behind Taylor’s.
Two other officers who were part of the botched raid, former Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and former Detective Myles Cosgrove, asserted their Fifth Amendment rights not to testify. They were not charged in the case but could be in an ongoing federal investigation.
How we got here
The incident began on March 12, 2020, when as part of a narcotics investigation, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge approved five search warrants for locations linked to Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, including at Taylor’s home.
Early the next morning, Hankison, Mattingly and Cosgrove carried out a warrant at her home and rammed in the front door, startling Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III.
Thinking they were intruders, Walker grabbed a gun he legally owned and fired a shot when the officers broke through the door, hitting Mattingly in the leg. That triggered a volley of fire from the officers, including Hankison, who was moved to the parking lot where he fired.
Taylor, who was standing in a hallway with Walker, was shot multiple times. Walker was not injured.
“Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker said in a 911 call.
Walker was at first charged with attempted murder of a police officer and first-degree assault but prosecutors later decided to drop the charges.
In September, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that Cosgrove and Mattingly would not face charges, saying their use of force was justified because they were shot at first.
None of the officers still work for the police department. Hankison was fired in late June 2020, Cosgrove was fired in January 2021, and Mattingly retired in April 2021.
In June 2020, the Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed an ordinance called “Breonna’s Law,” banning no-knock search warrants. The city of Louisville also agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12 million as part of a settlement.
CNN’s Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.