Former officer Brett Hankison sued over sexual assault allegation

A woman has accused former Louisville Metro Police Officer Brett Hankison, who was charged in the Breonna Taylor case, of sexually assaulting her at a Kentucky bar where he also worked.

The woman, identified as Margo Borders in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, alleges that Hankison assaulted her after seeing her at the Tin Roof bar in April 2018, according to the lawsuit provided by her attorneys to NBC News. Borders allegedly met Hankison in 2017 when she was 22 and the two had a mutual friend.

In 2018, Borders was meeting with friends at the Tin Roof, the bar where Hankison was working as security and he allegedly told her to stay close to him, the lawsuit said. Hankison allegedly offered Borders a ride home when she planned on leaving.

“Margo had no objections to a ride home from a police officer,” the lawsuit said. “She wouldn’t have to pay for an Uber and felt protected with an officer making sure she got home safely.”

The lawsuit says that Hankison invited himself into her apartment, where she left him on the couch when she went to her bedroom to change. Borders, who was intoxicated, fell asleep and did not return to the living room, the lawsuit said.

“While Margo was unconscious, Hankison went into her room, stripped off his clothes and willfully, intentionally, painfully and violently sexually assaulted Margo,” the lawsuit alleges.

Borders has previously said she did not immediately go to police with the allegations because she feared retaliation.

Hankison did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment Tuesday evening. Cincinnati-based attorney Stew Mathews, who represents Hankison in the Taylor case, told NBC News affiliate WAVE that he does not represent Hankison in the sexual assault lawsuit.

Hankison came under scrutiny because of his involvement in the Taylor case in March, when the 26-year-old Black woman was killed at her apartment in a police raid. Hankison was fired in June for “wantonly and blindly” firing, according to his termination letter. He was also charged by a grand jury in September with first-degree wanton endangerment and has pleaded not guilty.

Borders was one of two women who publicly accused Hankison of sexual misconduct in June after his name and photo gained national media attention for the case.

Louisville police said then that they were investigating allegations by at least two women.

Borders' lawsuit accuses Hankison of engaging in a pattern of behavior, using his “police uniform and secondary night club employment as mechanisms to prey on innocent women.”

“Margo was physically injured, mentally horrified and remained in extreme emotional duress over both the assault and the feeling that any efforts made to hold Officer Hankison accountable for his actions would backfire,” the lawsuit said.

The Louisville police department's Public Integrity Unit previously cleared Hankison on two unrelated accusations involving sexual misconduct, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported in June. The investigations were mentioned in Borders’ lawsuit.

NBC News has not been able to confirm this report.

Borders’ lawsuit also names former LMPD Chief Steve Conrad and five other officers for failure to intervene in Hankison’s behavior. Attorney Sam Aguiar, who represents Borders, called Hankison a “predator of the worst kind.”

“This police department’s long-standing tolerance for sexual assault by their officers is disgusting,” Augiar said in a statement Tuesday. “We intend to hold all who failed to ever report or investigate Brett Hankison responsible. Too many women in this community have suffered for too long.”

Aguiar also represents Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, who was with her in the apartment the night of the March raid. Walker has filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Louisville, its police department and others stemming from the deadly raid.

The police department said that it was unable to comment, citing pending litigation about the sexual assault allegations.

A representative for Tin Roof Acquisition Company, LLC, said he was unaware of the lawsuit and declined to comment to NBC News on Tuesday evening.