Brett Hankison’s attorney files request to move trial out of Jefferson County

Former Louisville Metro Police Department detective Brett Hankison during an Oct. 28, 2020...
Former Louisville Metro Police Department detective Brett Hankison during an Oct. 28, 2020 pre-trial conference. Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment after shots he fired during the March 13, 2020 narcotics raid at Breonna Taylor's apartment went into a neighboring apartment.(Source: Michael Flynn, WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Feb. 3, 2021 at 3:50 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The attorney for a former LMPD detective who was fired following his involvement in the deadly raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment has requested a change of venue for his client’s case.

Brett Hankison was one of three LMPD officers who fired their weapons at Taylor’s apartment last year, leaving the 26-year-old woman bleeding to death in the hallway of her Louisville apartment.

Hankison was the first LMPD officer involved in the case to be fired from the department, and the only one to be charged.

His Cincinnati-based attorney, Stew Mathews, told WAVE 3 News last month that he planned to request the trial be moved out of Jefferson County “because of all the extensive adverse publicity.”

Mathews formally filed the petition Tuesday.

“There has been an avalanche of publicity, locally, nationally, and worldwide in the television media, the print media, and social media about this case,” he wrote in the six-page request. “Much of the information that has been published in all the different forms of media is totally inaccurate and/or untrue.”

Hankison is charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing his gun into Taylor’s neighbor’s apartment during the raid. Each charge carries a maximum of five years in prison upon conviction.

Nobody was charged directly for killing Taylor, who was shot multiple times.

Mathews is no stranger to high-profile cases involving police officers. He represented former University of Cincinnati Police officer Ray Tensing, who shot and killed an unarmed Black driver in 2015 and was fired afterward. Following two mistrials, the university paid Tensing $350,000 for lost wages and legal fees. Mathews said the Tensing and Hankison cases are similar in that they involve officers using deadly force, but was quick to acknowledge the publicity around Hankison, who was accused of sexually assaulting a Louisville woman in an unrelated lawsuit filed in November.

“I think Brett has had a lot more adverse publicity just because of all the extraneous things that have ben alleged about him outside of the Breonna Taylor matter,” said Mathews, who is not representing Hankison in the sex assault case. “But every case is unique. Both (shooting cases) revolve around whether an officer was justified in the action he took based on the information he had at the time.”

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office will be trying Hankison in the wanton endangerment case. His office has not responded to WAVE 3 News’ request for comment on the change-of-venue request.

A tentative trial date has been scheduled for Aug. 31. The next hearing in the case is set for March 25.

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