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Warning: The following article includes explicit descriptions of a sexual assault. Some may find this to be particularly distressing. Resources for victims of sexual assault are provided at the bottom of the article.
Former Louisville Metro Police officer Brett Hankison, one of three officers who fatally shot Breonna Taylor, is also accused of sexually assaulting women, according to a new lawsuit. Hankison was the only officer fired or charged in connection to Taylor’s murder.
In a lawsuit filed on Nov. 10, Margo Borders accused Hankison of assaulting her after seeing her at the Tin Roof bar in April 2018, NBC News reported. Hankison was working as security at the bar at the time.
The two allegedly first met in 2017 when Borders was just 22 years old and they shared a mutual friend. The lawsuit alleges that Hankison “frequently messaged” Borders on Snapchat and contacted her when he was “having problems with his girlfriend,” CNN reported.
During the April 2018 incident, Borders was meeting friends at the Tin Roof, where Hankison allegedly told her to remain close to him. Borders, who was intoxicated, accepted an offer home from Hankison when she planned to leave, the lawsuit says.
“Margo had no objections to a ride home from a police officer,” the lawsuit claims. “She wouldn’t have to pay for an Uber and felt protected with an officer making sure she got home safely.”
However, when they arrived at Borders’ apartment, Hankison invited himself inside, the lawsuit alleges. Borders reportedly left Hankison on the couch when she went to change in her bedroom. She then fell asleep and did not return to the living room, the suit says.
“While Margo was unconscious, Hankison went into her room, stripped off his clothes and willfully, intentionally, painfully and violently sexually assaulted Margo,” NBC News cited the lawsuit as saying.
Borders regained consciousness and yelled at Hankison to get off her. He grabbed his clothes and left her room, but messaged her later that day to “try and suggest that the two had engaged in consensual relations,” according to the lawsuit.
“Margo and so many other women put their trust in what they thought was a police officer doing a good deed. He responded by damaging their lives,” Borders’ attorney Sam Aguiar told CNN. “We are confident that this litigation will send a message that the community will hold the police accountable when the department itself fails to do so.”
The lawsuit also includes claims from nine other women, ranging from unwanted sexual advances to sexual assault by Hankison.
According to CNN, Hankison’s internal police department file has more than 50 internal reports, including at least two investigations by the Public Integrity Unit involving allegations of sexual misconduct.
Hankison was exonerated in one incident where he was accused of demanding sexual favors in exchange for not placing criminal charges on the victim. In the other incident, Hankison was accused of making advances and attempting to date a woman who was the subject of an active investigation. The lawsuit says he was also exonerated of this incident.
Previous Sexual Assault Accusations Against Hankison
Borders is one of two women who publicly accused Hankison of sexual assault. According to NBC News, the other woman also claimed Hankison sexually assaulted her after giving her a ride home from a bar.
The second woman, identified as Emily Terry, detailed her account in a Facebook post published on June 4. In the account, Terry said that in early fall 2019, she was walking home from a bar intoxicated when a police officer pulled up and offered to take her home.
“I thought to myself, ‘Wow. That is so nice of him.’ And willingly got in,” she wrote. “He began making sexual advances towards me; rubbing my thigh, kissing my forehead, and calling me ‘baby.’”
Terry wrote that she was “mortified” and did not move. She continued to tell him about her grad school experiences and ignoring his advances. When they arrived at her apartment building, Terry said she got out of the car and ran to the back. Her friend allegedly reported the incident the following day, but “of course nothing came from it.”
“Flash forward, I see his face. This face. Involved with the shooting of Breonna Taylor. I then find out he has a history of corrupt behavior. He has had multiple sexual assault allegations, and was in a federal lawsuit over planing narcotics on a Black man to arrest him,” she wrote. “Not all cops are bad, but this one is.”
Hankison, who was fired from Louisville Metro Police Department, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for shots he fired into a neighboring apartment on the night of the deadly drug raid at Taylor’s apartment. Neither he nor the other officers involved in Taylor’s murder were charged directly in her death.
RAINN hosts a national sexual assault hotline that allows victims to connect with trained staff members from a sexual assault service provider in their area. You can call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a local RAINN affiliate organization. For more information, visit here.
You can also find resources at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
For those in New York City, Safe Horizon provides trauma therapy, legal services, resources and hotlines. The non-profit aims to empower victims and survivors to find safety, support, connection and hope. Their 24-hour hotline can be reached at 1-800-621-HOPE (4673). You can also visit their website here.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.