Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was asked for her reaction after a Jefferson County grand jury decided to indict officer Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree.
No charges were announced against the two other officers involved in the raid. The grand jury’s decision prompted hundreds of protesters to turn out in Louisville overnight.
“It’s just weighing really heavy on my heart,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters Wednesday. “And because we know that her death is not just the result of one person, but the system, structure and department that failed their entire community.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments come as she has offered her support for the “defund the police” movement amid racial justice protests since the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd in police custody in May.
The indictment for Hankison was announced 194 days after Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical worker, was shot six times by the officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation.
Authorities found that the bullets fired by Hankison traveled into the neighboring apartment while three residents were home – a male, a pregnant female, and a child, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said at a press conference after the grand jury’s announcement. Hankison was not charged in Taylor’s death, but rather for endangering her neighbors’ lives.
Hankison faces up to five years on each of three counts if convicted, Cameron said.
No charges were announced against the two other officers – Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly – involved in the drug operation raid that led to the death of Taylor in March 2020. Mattingly was shot in the leg and underwent surgery after the raid.
The details that have been released paint a chaotic entry into Taylor’s home by the officers.
Despite executing a no-knock warrant, Cameron’s office said that the officers did announce themselves before busting down the door of the apartment occupied by Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.
Walker, who said he believed someone was breaking in, allegedly opened fire.
He was initially accused of the attempted murder of a police officer, but local prosecutors later dropped the charge. He told police he heard knocking but didn’t know who was coming into the home and fired in self-defense.
Cameron said Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified under Kentucky law in their use of force after being fired upon by Walker and his office will not pursue criminal charges against them.
“According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves. This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor’s death,” Cameron said.
But Hankison is accused of “blindly” firing his gun, without a threat within line of sight, according to a pretermination letter the police department sent to him in June.
After an initial Kentucky State Police ballistics analysis into the deadly crossfire came back inconclusive, Cameron said investigators turned to the FBI for an independent examination and review.
The FBI ballistics determined that the shot that killed Taylor came from Cosgrove’s gun.
Cameron said investigators were unable to specifically identify the source of all of the other bullets that struck Taylor.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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