Former Louisville officer Brett Hankison sued over sexual assault allegation

A woman has accused former Louisville, Kentucky, police Officer Brett Hankison, who was charged in the Breonna Taylor case, of sexually assaulting her.

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, which her attorneys provided to NBC News. Borders is alleged to have 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 security, and he told her to stay close to him, the lawsuit says. Hankison is alleged to have offered Borders a ride home when she planned on leaving.

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

The lawsuit says 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 says.

“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 lawyer Stew Mathews, who represents Hankison in the Taylor case, told NBC News affiliate WAVE of Louisville that he does not represent Hankison in the sexual assault lawsuit.

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

Borders was one of two women who publicly accused Hankison of sexual misconduct in June after his name and photo drew national media attention in 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 says.

The Louisville Metro Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit previously cleared Hankison of two unrelated accusations involving sexual misconduct, the Courier-Journal newspaper reported in June. The investigations are mentioned in Borders’ lawsuit.

NBC News has not been able to confirm the report.

Borders’ lawsuit also names former Police Chief Steve Conrad and five other officers, alleging that they failed to intervene in Hankison’s behavior. Sam Aguiar, an attorney representing Borders, called Hankison a “predator of the worst kind.”

“This police department’s long-standing tolerance for sexual assault by their officers is disgusting,” Aguiar 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 Taylor’s family.

The police department said 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 Tuesday evening.