DOJ charges current former police officers in connection with shooting that killed Breonna Taylor

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that the Department of Justice has filed charges against four former and current Louisville police officers in connection with the death of Breonna Taylor. Charges include civil rights violations, unlawful conspiracies, unconstitutional use of force and felonies of obstruction.

“The federal charges announced today allege that members of a Police Investigative Unit falsified the affidavit used to obtain a search warrant for Ms. Taylor’s home and that this act violated laws federal civil rights laws, and that these violations resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death.” Garland said at a news conference.

Federal charges against Detective Joshua Jaynes, former Louisville Detective Kelly Goodlett and Sergeant Kyle Meany allege they violated Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights when they sought a warrant to search Taylor’s home knowing that they did not have probable cause and that they knew of their affidavit supporting the warrant it contained. false and misleading information and omitted other material information, resulting in his death.

“Among other things, the affidavit falsely claimed that agents had verified that the target of the alleged drug operation had received packages at Ms. Taylor’s address. In fact, defendants Jaynes and Goodlett knew that was not true Garland said during a presser. conference

Garland also alleged that Jaynes and Goodlett knew that armed officers would conduct the raid on Taylor’s home and that conducting the search could create “a dangerous situation for anyone who was in Ms. Taylor’s home.”

Prosecutors allege Jaynes and Goodlett met in a garage after Taylor’s death “where they agreed to tell investigators” investigating the botched raid “a false story.”

Charges have also been filed against Brett Hankison, a former Louisville Metro Police officer who was involved in the death of Breonna Taylor. Hankison has been charged in an indictment with two counts of deprivation of rights under the law, both civil rights offenses.

Hankison allegedly used unconstitutionally excessive force during the attack when he fired 10 shots through a window and sliding glass door in Taylor’s house that was covered by blinds and curtains after there was no longer a “target legal basis that justified the use of lethal force”.

Hankison was tried on state charges related to the attack on Taylor’s apartment and was found not guilty on all counts. He was accused of recklessly shooting into a neighboring apartment during the attack that ended with the death of Breonna Taylor, who pleaded not guilty to three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree.

Taylor’s death sparked protests across the country, and the outrage intensified further after no officers were charged in connection with his fatal shooting.

“The lack of accountability shown in every aspect of Breonna’s murder shows how much more work remains to be done before we can say that our justice system is fair and our police system is protective of people of color.” , Taylor’s attorney, Ben Crump. he said after Hankison’s trial in March.

The Department of Justice has had a pattern or practice investigation underway at the Louisville Police Department since April 2021. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division told reporters that the separate investigation remains ongoing and that the DOJ has a team on the ground still conducting interviews with interested parties and conducting field trips with police.

Louisville officers raided Taylor’s apartment on March 13, 2020, at approximately 12:45 p.m. When officers broke down the door to the apartment, a guest at Taylor’s house, thinking he was an intruder, fired a single shot with a legally purchased gun. firearm, hitting the first officer at the door. Two Louisville officers fired a total of 22 shots into the apartment, one of which struck Taylor in the chest, according to information filed by the Justice Department.

A third officer moved from the door to the side of the apartment and fired 10 more shots through a window and a sliding glass door, both of which were covered with blinds and curtains, according to an information filed by the Justice Department.

Garland also alleged that the officers who conducted the raid were not involved in the drafting of the warrant and were unaware of the false and misleading statements it contained when they conducted the raid.

Garland said he spoke with Taylor’s family earlier Thursday and informed them of the charges.

“We share, but cannot fully imagine, the pain felt by Breonna Taylor’s loved ones and all those affected by the events of March 13, 2020. Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Garland said.

-ABC News’ Alexander Mallin and Jack Date contributed to this report

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