Untangling the narrative
USA v. Brett Hankison Mistrial, Post 5- Important to remember: Brett is on a winning streak.
Why is Brett Hankison facing a third trial for the same or very similar offenses that were litigated in 2022 and 2023?
Have you read the Fastzone.Substack blog series about the federal Consent Decree (CD) for Louisville and the LMPD? If so, then you understand that proving the guilt of LMPD officers supports the objective of federal oversight of our local police.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) wants Louisvillians to cry out for the CD. It is important for readers of this current blog series to understand this.
The prosecutors in Brett’s November 2023 federal trial smeared him. He was described as irresponsible, rebellious, vengeful, a coward and a liar. The Defense countered these character attacks, and Brett took the stand in his own defense which was impressive. The accused is not required to take the stand as a witness, and a guilty person would fear to do so.
The image shows a media interview following Brett’s exoneration in March 2022. Attorney Matthews expresses that Brett helped his Defense by taking the stand.
And, as some have studied in school days, attacking a defendant’s character is an ‘ad hominem’ argument which is a logical fallacy.
No doubt this attempt at defamation helped to convince some jurors that Brett was innocent. Others were unmoved. Perhaps they simply could not believe that the USA DOJ would be wrong in its prosecution. After all, if we cannot trust our own justice system, what is left? America is on its last leg. We can’t go there!
Those who read conservative news, realize that, yes, our own DOJ is involved in legal cases without merit. A glance at a news story published on January 3 is a good illustration.
Jan 3 - 6:43 PM | DailyCaller.com | by Nick Pope Excerpt:
The Biden administration is suing Texas to prevent the state from arresting migrants who flout U.S. immigration law to enter the state illegally, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday.
The DOJ is making good on its threat to sue Texas over enforcing S.B. 4, a new law signed in December 2023 that would permit local and state authorities to arrest and prosecute individuals suspected of entering the U.S. illegally, according to the DOJ and NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. Texas illegal immigration has surged to record levels under the Biden administration, with Texas seeing a massive influx of migrants arriving at its border with Mexico.
The DOJ stated its rationale for the lawsuit:
“The Constitution assigns the federal government the authority to regulate immigration and manage our international borders. Pursuant to this authority, Congress has established a comprehensive framework governing the entry of noncitizens into the United States and the removal of noncitizens from the country … Because SB 4 is preempted by federal law and violates the U.S. Constitution, the Justice Department seeks a declaration that SB 4 is invalid and an order preliminarily and permanently enjoining the state from enforcing the law.”
Texas had to pass SB 4 because the federal government refuses to enforce Article IV, Section 4 of the US Constitution: The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion…
It seems that all meaning is slipping away from normal conversation about legal matters. Somebody, PLEASE do something fast!
This ‘lawfare’ example, while not unrelated to policing, was rather presented to show how the DOJ does not argue from a common sense perspective. Another example is that the DOJ attorneys told jurors in the Hankison trial that Brett wanted revenge on the shooter.
Brett is not a prejudiced person, and in the dark he could not tell if the shooter was black or white. The exchange of gunfire, including Sgt. Mattingly’s six shots, Det. Cosgrove’s 16, and Brett’s 10, spanned less than 15 seconds or even less than 10; it is unknown. The police shot back in self-defense or to protect the lives of fellow officers.
A significant aspect of the case is the language describing Kenneth Walker’s involvement:
Walker did not hear the police knock and announce (Police are always referred to as ‘intruders’)
Walker’s handgun was legally owned
He only shot one time
In short, Walker is presented to jurors as an upstanding citizen whose civil rights were violated. Yet many who testified last November described the warrant served as a very lengthy, very loud ‘knock-and-announce’ that was carried out that way to allow Breonna plenty of time to come to the door, per department orders. These testimonies must have created reasonable doubt in the jurors’ minds as to the veracity of Walker’s testimony.
That was useful, because a juror must conclude that ‘the accused’ is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. Indeed, if Kenneth actually heard the police knocking and announcing, then shooting and nearly killing Sgt. Mattingly does not make him a victim who has civil rights, but rather a felon who should stand trial for shooting to wound or to kill an officer.
His action possibly led to the death of Breonna, in which case her civil rights were violated, or terminated, by Walker. Or, if she had a firearm with intent to use it, knowing police were at her door, then likewise, she was not a victim but a felon. This may sound harsh, realizing the grief and loss of her family members, but justice must be blind.
As we know, Brett was found innocent of ‘wanton endangerment’ charges by a Jefferson County jury in March of 2022. That trial pertained only to the people living in the apartment adjacent to Breonna’s. So, if the Grand Jury under Daniel Cameron only indicted Brett for ‘wanton endangerment’ relating to neighbors of Breonna, how did the DOJ enlarge that scope to include the civil rights of Breonna and Kenneth?
Attorney General Cameron made clear that no further criminal charges would be filed. and stated that the criminal justice system "isn't the quest for revenge.”
Nevertheless, a federal grand jury indicted Brett for violating the civil rights of five persons in two counts. The second count on behalf of the neighbors, was not substantially different from the charges of which Brett was found innocent only five months earlier.
The first count pertained to Breonna and Kenneth, in contradiction of our state’s grand jury findings, and in spite of testimonies recorded in print just following the incident, that created reasonable doubt about Kenneth’s statements.
If the DOJ had only sought to try Brett on charges relating to the neighbors, it would have been a case of ‘double jeopardy’, a Constitutional offense. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution states:
"[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb..." The four essential protections included are prohibitions against, for the same offense:
retrial after an acquittal;
retrial after a conviction;
retrial after certain mistrials; and
Yet the federal indictment was served to Brett as though he was already a guilty man. That indictment was ordered to be kept secret until Brett was in custody, as though he would seek to escape. Why would he? He knew he was innocent. All the charges against him had been expunged.
I hope to post to this blog series at least once a week. In the next post we will look at specific aspects of the Mistrial.
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