Wanton Endangerment

Wanton Endangerment


Finally, after several months, a Kentucky grand jury leveled charges against Louisville police officer Brett Hankison in connection to the shooting of Breonna Taylor. Remember, cops busted into Taylor’s apartment, looking for someone who wasn’t there, and shot and killed her after her boyfriend shot at police. Hankison shot his gun ten times. The other two officers involved shot 22 times. Investigators say they can’t determine which officers killed Breonna (bullshit), who was struck six times. For this incident, Hankison was charged with three counts of “wanton endangerment.”

What does that mean? It means he’s NOT being charged for the death of Breonna Taylor, but for being careless. The three counts are for the three people in the apartment next door to Taylor’s which contained three people.

If there were over 32 shots from the three officers, and investigators can’t determine who shot Breonna six times, then why is only one of the cops being charged? I call bullshit on this entire thing.

According to the Kentucky statute, someone “is guilty of wanton endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person.” Uh, he didn’t just create “substantial danger” or “physical injury.” The cop…or cops in this case, KILLED a person. They killed an innocent person.

For this, the cop may serve up to five years in jail for each count. The minimum is one. So, if the cop gets the minimum charge at three years, then he’ll probably end up serving less than half that time. At least that’s the way I understand but I’ll accept a correction if there is one.

Wanton endangerment is a Class D felony, the lowest of four classes of felonies. It’s almost like three cops went into the wrong apartment, without knocking or serving a warrant, shot up the place, killed Taylor, and got off with a misdemeanor.

Legal experts like to say prosecutors can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. While grand juries are independent, the prosecutor chooses what evidence to present. What did they present to this grand jury? Yes, prosecutors can indict a ham sandwich, unless that ham sandwich shot a black person.

Kentucky’s Attorney General, Daniel Cameron said, “I certainly understand the pain that has been brought about by the tragic death of Breonna Taylor. I understand that as a Black man.” But he was involved in a typical white Republican decision. To the legal system, black lives don’t matter.

First, this shooting happened last March. It took over six months for charges? If a black man busted into someone’s apartment and killed a white women, do you really believe it would take a six-month investigation to bring charges? Do you really believe the most he’d get would be for damaging walls?

So let’s get some things straight. You can get killed by police for driving while black. You can get killed by police for walking while black. You can get killed by police for being a five-year-old with a toy gun while black. You can get killed by police for bouncing a check while black. You can get killed by police for passing a $20 counterfeit bill while black. You can get killed by police for standing in the wrong place at the wrong time while black. And now, you can get killed by police for sleeping while black.

Black lives matter. Even in Kentucky.

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