Four current and former members of the Louisville Metro Police Department were indicted Thursday on federal civil rights charges in connection with the 2020 raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor.
Taylor, 26, was shot by police during a narcotics raid in Louisville, Kentucky. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot at officers entering the apartment. They returned fire, killing Taylor.
The charges focus on the information that sent police to Taylor’s apartment, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
“The officers who ultimately carried out the search at this Taylor’s department were not involved in the drafting of the warrant, and were unaware of the false and misleading statements they contained,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.
AG Merrick Garland announces bombshell charges against police officers involved in the search warrant that led to the killing of Breonna Taylor.
He says defendants “took steps to cover up their unlawful conduct” and “met in a garage where they agreed to tell … a false story.” pic.twitter.com/nEuvdkbJfl
— The Recount (@therecount) August 4, 2022
“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,” Garland said in a Justice Department news release.
“Breonna Taylor should be alive today.”
Former detective Joshua Jaynes and current Sgt. Kyle Meany are charged with federal civil rights and obstruction offenses for their roles in preparing and approving a false search warrant affidavit for the raid. Jaynes was fired by the police department.
Former detective Brett Hankison is charged with civil rights offenses for firing his gun into Taylor’s apartment through a covered window and door. Hankison was fired by police but acquitted on state charges of wanton endangerment.
Detective Kelly Goodlett is charged with conspiring with Jaynes to falsify the search warrant and to cover up their actions afterward.
The LMPD said in a statement that Chief Erika Shields has begun the process of firing Meany and Goodlett.
“While we must refer all questions about this federal investigation to the FBI, it is critical that any illegal or inappropriate actions by law enforcement be addressed comprehensively in order to continue our efforts to build police-community trust,” the department said in a statement.
“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 DOJ news release said.
“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.”
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