Four current and former Louisville police officers face federal civil rights charges more than two years after Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home in a botched police raid in March 2020.
The Justice Department said the officers used excessive force, lied to investigators and covered up her killing.
The two separate indictments include now former Louisville Metro Police officers Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison and Kelly Hannah Goodlett, and current Sergeant Kyle Meaney. All were charged by federal law enforcement on Aug. 4, the first federal charge related to her death.
According to federal prosecutors, Officers Jaynes and Goodlett falsified information on the search warrant, violated Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights, led to her killing, and conducted the search because they knew they lacked the possibility of s reason.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the former officials also conspired to falsify documents after Taylor’s killing and agreed to lie to investigators after her death.
Hankerson – until Thursday was the only officer charged in connection with Taylor’s killing – was acquitted earlier this year after 10 bullets were fired into her window and a glass door leading into an adjacent apartment Three felony counts of wanton endangerment.
On Thursday, he was charged with knowingly using unconstitutional force.
Mr Garland said police executed a search warrant at Taylor’s home on March 13, 2020, based on a forged affidavit used to obtain the warrant, and then “conspired to mislead state, local and federal authorities” in a subsequent investigation. .
The indictment alleges that Officers Jaynes and Goodlett met after Taylor’s death to forge an investigative document and met in a garage to conspire to mislead authorities during the investigation. Meany is also accused of lying to investigators.
“Brenna Taylor should be alive today,” Mr Garland told a news conference on Thursday. “We share but cannot fully imagine the grief felt by Breonna Taylor’s loved ones.”
The 26-year-old black woman, a medical worker, was at home with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker when plainclothes detectives opened the door with a batting hammer shortly after midnight. Mr Walker fired one shot with a firearm he legally owned, believing the intruder broke into the flat.
The two officers then fired more than 20 bullets into the apartment. A round hit Taylor fatally.
Her death sparked international demands for justice and an end to police violence, part of a wave of protests that followed other black people being killed by police.
Jaynes was fired by the Louisville Police Department after Taylor was killed, when the agency’s interim chief accused Jaynes of “lying” when he wrote a search warrant application that he verified with the U.S. Postal Service that Taylor received with drugs The activist-related package involved an ex-boyfriend.
He is suing to restore his job.
in the indictment
This The first federal indictment Contains four counts of violations of federal civil rights and obstruction against Jaynes and Meany.
According to the Justice Department, the first charge alleges the men drafted a false affidavit for the arrest warrant that “contains false and misleading statements, omits material facts, relies on outdated information, and is not supported by reasonable cause.” . The indictment also alleges that both men knew the execution of the warrant would create a “dangerous” situation.
According to the charges, the officer executing the warrant was unaware that the affidavit was false.
As part of a “cover up,” the second charge charges Jaynes with conspiracy. The third count charges Jaynes with falsifying a subsequent report “with intent to obstruct the criminal investigation into Taylor’s death.”
In a separate Information Act, Goodlett was charged with one count of conspiracy to work with Jaynes to forge a search warrant affidavit for Taylor’s home and to “cover up” a false report of the false affidavit.
The fourth count charges Meany with making false statements to federal investigators.
second indictment — Against Hankerson — including two civil rights charges alleging the current ex-officer “willfully used unconstitutional and excessive force while acting in his capacity as an officer when he directed Taylor through covered windows and covered glass doors. when the shots were fired at the apartment.”
The first charge against Hankerson said he deprived Taylor and Mr Walker of their constitutional rights by blindly firing into the apartment “through the bedroom window covered with blinds and blackout curtains”.
The second charge alleges he “fired through a sliding glass door covered with shutters and curtains,” depriving Taylor of his neighbor’s constitutional rights.
Both charges claim that Hankerson’s conduct “involved an attempted homicide.”