U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Thursday that the Justice Department has charged four current and former Kentucky police officers for civil rights violations in the 2020 shooting death of Breonna Taylor.
“The Justice Department has charged four current and former Louisville Metro Police Department officers with federal crimes related to Breonna Taylor’s death,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Among other things, the federal charges announced today allege that members of LMPD’s Place-Based Investigations Unit falsified the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant of Ms. Taylor’s home, that this act violated federal civil rights laws, and that those violations resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death.”
According to the Courier-Journal, the FBI arrested Joshua Jaynes — the ex-Louisville Metro Police detective who was fired last year for allegedly lying on the search warrant that led to cops raiding Taylor’s apartment.
In addition to Jaynes, federal authorities also charged active sergeant Kyle Meany in connection with the allegedly false warrant.
In a statement, the Justice Department said,
“The indictment alleges that Jaynes and Meany knew that the affidavit contained false and misleading statements, omitted material facts, relied on stale information, and was not supported by probable cause. The indictment also alleges that Jaynes and Meany knew that the execution of the search warrant would be carried out by armed LMPD officers, and could create a dangerous situation both for those officers and for anyone who happened to be in Taylor’s home.”
Louisville detective Kelly Goodlett was also charged in an information with conspiring with Jaynes to falsify the search warrant for Taylor’s home.
Ex-Louisville police officer Brett Hankison was charged for allegedly using unconstitutional excessive force when he fired 10 shots into Taylor’s covered window and sliding glass door. In March, Hankison was acquitted of state charges of wanton endangerment for shots he fired that allegedly endangered Taylor’s neighbors.
Hankison was fired for his role in the deadly 2020 raid that killed Taylor, 26. No other officers were criminally charged. In January 2020, Louisville police exonerated three officers in the fatal shooting.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was present at the time Louisville police executed a no-knock warrant at Taylor’s apartment in connection with a narcotics investigation. In 2021, prosecutors announced that they were permanently dropping the criminal case against Walker.
“Breonna Taylor should be alive today. The Justice Department is committed to defending and protecting the civil rights of every person in this country. That was this Department’s founding purpose, and it remains our urgent mission,” Garland said on Thursday.
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[Featured image: Breonna Taylor/Instagram]