Breonna Taylor’s neighbor testified on Wednesday that officers conducting the raid that led to Taylor’s death in a botched narcotics raid were “reckless” and “unorganized.”
Cody Etherton, who lived in the apartment next to Taylor, testified in the trial of former Kentucky police Officer Brett Hankison that he and his partner, Chelsey Napper, were sleeping when a “loud boom” awakened him, NBC News reported.
He said that “debris started going past my head and face” as he dropped the floor and told Napper to do the same. He later walked out of his apartment and saw Taylor’s door open. Though he could not see inside the apartment, he heard someone say “breathe baby, breathe.”
“I was like, they think my backdoor is her backdoor. That’s what I thought, which to me is just very unorganized,” Etherton said.
“To me, a professional well-trained officer, they should have had the floorplans. They should have had the blueprints. They didn’t even know whose backdoor that was. They didn’t even know who lived there. So, to me that kind of upset me. It was just reckless to me,” he added.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Stewart Mathews argued that Hankison’s actions were justified because of the chaos on the scene that night as the officer attempted “to defend and save the lives of his brother officers,” according to NBC.
Hankison, who was fired a few months after the botched raid, faces charges that stem from a shot he fired into the apartment of Taylor’s neighbors. He is the only officer charged in the case, and his shot did not hit Taylor. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend were the targets of the raid.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was fatally shot by Louisville police in March 2020 during the raid. Taylor’s boyfriend fired shots when officers kicked in the door under the impression an intruder was breaking in. The officers at the scene returned fire and killed Taylor.