Breonna Taylor shooting charges: What is wanton endangerment?

1 of 3 officers charged in Louisville

FILE - Signs are held up showing Breonna Taylor during a rally in her honor on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Thursday, June 25, 2020. The city of Louisville will pay several million dollars to the mother of Breonna Taylor and install police reforms as part of a settlement of a lawsuit from Taylors family, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)
FILE - Signs are held up showing Breonna Taylor during a rally in her honor on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Thursday, June 25, 2020. The city of Louisville will pay several million dollars to the mother of Breonna Taylor and install police reforms as part of a settlement of a lawsuit from Taylors family, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

One officer is facing charges in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, but the charge isn’t murder.

A grand jury announced that Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid on the night of March 13.

What is wanton endangerment?

According to the state of Kentucky, it is defined as:

“A person 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.”

The law has been in place in 1975.

According to Kentucky law firm Ron Aslam, first-degree wanton endangerment is a Class D felony, punishable with fines of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison.

Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation. The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside. The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville’s Metro Council.


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter.