In the early morning hours of March 13, three Louisville Metro Police Department officers burst into the home of Breonna Taylor while she and her boyfriend were sleeping and fired more than 22 rounds, killing Taylor, a 26-year-old paramedic. Despite growing demands for the three officers—Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove—to be fired and charged for killing Taylor, the three remain on administrative leave.
But we’ve been learning a lot about the history of at least one of the officers, Brett Hankison. Earlier in May, it was revealed that Hankison has been accused of planting drug evidence in a lawsuit. And more recently, two women have come forward with claims that Hankison sexually assaulted them while on duty.
Both of the women shared that their interactions with Hankison began when he offered to drive them home after a night out at a bar. In a Facebook post, one of the women, Margo Borders, wrote that in April 2018, Hankison “drove me home in uniform, in his marked car, invited himself into my apartment and sexually assaulted me while I was unconscious.” Borders added, “I never reported him out of fear of retaliation. I had no proof of what happened and he had the upper hand because he was a police officer. Who do you call when the person who assaulted you is a police officer? Who were they going to believe? I knew it wouldn’t be me.”
A few days later, another woman, Emily Terry, shared a similar story in a post on Instagram. Hankison, Terry wrote, drove up next to her one night as she was walking home from a far and offered her a ride home. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow. That is so nice of him.’ And willingly got in,” she wrote. But then, she added, “He began making sexual advances towards me; rubbing my thigh, kissing my forehead, and calling me ‘baby.’” Terry ignored his advances and immediately got out of his squad car when they arrived at her apartment building. “My friend reported this the next day, and of course nothing came from it,” Terry wrote.
According to the Courier-Journal, Hankison has been investigated in the past by the Louisville Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit over allegations of sexual misconduct while in uniform.
More, from the Courier-Journal:
In 2015, a probation and parole officer told investigators that a parolee had informed her that Hankison told her he wanted to “date her.” In an initial interview, the parolee said he had “come onto her” and said a ticket could be taken care of if she had sex with him.
She later retracted those statements. An investigator, in recommending the case be closed, said no evidence was found and it was clear she was being “deceptive.”
In 2008, Hankison was accused of receiving oral sex in exchange for not arresting a woman with an outstanding warrant, but the woman denied it occurred.
She said she wasn’t arrested because she gave information on a drug dealer.
In a statement released by an attorney working with Breonna Taylor’s family, Borders called Hankison “a predator of the worst kind.” “He used his uniform to stalk women at local bars and sexually assault them,” Borders said in the statement. “I was one of these women. This man knew his badge would keep us quiet and that his LMPD brotherhood would protect him. After several years and several victims, it was clear he was right.”
Borders added, “When I found out that Brett Hankison, whose face and presence in Louisville had haunted me for the last two years, was one of Breonna’s killers, I knew my time of being silenced by this man was over.”
Taylor’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Louisville Police Department in which they list more allegations of Hankison’s violent history, including “dozens of situations where he has sent citizens to the hospital for injuries from being tased, pepper sprayed and struck repeatedly in the nose and eyes.” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, has repeatedly called for the three officers who killed her daughter to be fired. “It’s very frustrating, it’s heartbreaking,” Palmer told the Washington Post. “It’s a smack in the face, actually, to know that these officers are still being paid to do a job that they failed at.”