The Department of Justice has charged four current and former Louisville police officers who were involved in a fatal raid on the apartment of Breonna Taylor, reports the New York Times. The officers have been accused of several crimes which include lying to obtain a warrant that was used to search her home.
Back in March 2020, officers knocked down the door and fired gunshots after Taylor’s boyfriend shot an officer in the leg. Two of the officers fatally shot Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
During the news conference, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Louisville officers had “violated federal civil rights laws, and that those violations resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death.”
For over a year, the Justice Department has been investigating the department and the county government to discover if the “officers regularly use unreasonable force and whether officers who break the department’s rules are held accountable.”
None of the officers who shot and killed Taylor have ever been charged and no new indictments were issued.
The charges name three officers who were part of an investigative unit that obtained the search warrant for the raid, along with a fourth officer who was terminated from the department for firing at Taylor's apartment and striking a neighboring apartment, according to officials.
Brett Hankison, a former officer, already faced state criminal charges in the case but was acquitted. He’s accused of federal civil rights violations in the indictment.
Prosecutors also said on Thursday that two detectives as well as a police sergeant “falsely claimed in an affidavit used to obtain the warrant that the former boyfriend had been receiving packages at Ms. Taylor’s apartment.” Per the indictment, the officers had no evidence of such packages and purposefully misrepresented their case to the judge for authorization of the raid.
Joshua Jaynes, a former detective who was also fired over his role in the raid, sent a draft of the affidavit to Kelly Goodlett, another detective now facing charges, which included the false claim about packages, the prosecutors argued.
Sgt. Kyle Meany, the third officer charged, who oversaw a department investigative unit, authorized the affidavit while knowing that it contained fraudulent information, according to the indictment.
The indictment also accuses two of the officers of including false information in the affidavit and conspiring to lie about it afterward. Two months after Taylor’s death, prosecutors said that Goodlett met in Jaynes’s garage where they decided to give investigators statements about a sergeant informing them that packages were set to arrive at Taylor’s apartment. Also, Jaynes and Meany “were each accused of violating Ms. Taylor’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.” among other charges.
Hankison is accused of depriving Taylor, her boyfriend, and their neighbors of their rights “by unreasonably firing 10 bullets through a window and sliding glass door that was covered with blinds.”