4 Kentucky police officers face federal charges in Breonna Taylor killing

The U.S. Justice Department has charged four Kentucky police officers involved in the deadly raid that killed Breonna Taylor with civil rights violations.

Federal charges against former officers Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison and Kelly Goodlett, along with Sgt. Kyle Meany were announced by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was shot to death on March 13, 2020, by Louisville, Ky., officers who had knocked down her door while executing a search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times.

Garland said federal officials “share but cannot fully imagine the grief” felt by Taylor’s family. 

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” he said.

Federal charges allege that the affidavit used in securing the residence for Taylor’s residence were falsified. The officers who conducted the raid were not involved in that affidavit process, Garland said, and were unaware of the alleged falsification.

Garland alleged that in May 2020, Jaynes and Goodlett “met in a garage, where they agreed to tell investigators a false story” concerning the deadly raid.

Meany is also accused of lying to the FBI in an interview about the incident.

Police department probe ongoing

Hankison, who was dismissed from the department in 2020, was one of the officers at Taylor’s door and one of three who fired shots that night.

He is accused by the Justice Department of using “constitutionally excessive force” in the raid, which included firing his weapon through a window with drawn blinds.

A jury acquitted him of state charges of wanton endangerment earlier this year in Louisville.

Jaynes had applied for the warrant to search Taylor’s house.

He was fired in January 2021 by former Louisville Police interim chief Yvette Gentry for violating department standards in the preparation of a search warrant execution and for being “untruthful” in the Taylor warrant.

Justice Department officials said Thursday that a broader investigation into whether the Louisville Police Department engages in a so-called “pattern or practice” of violations of law is ongoing.

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