Four Kentucky police officers were charged in connection with the raid that led to the killing of Breonna Taylor, according to Attorney General Merrick Garland. Taylor was killed in her home in March 2020, when officers broke down her door and shot into her bedroom after her boyfriend shot an officer, believing the officers to be intruders.
Her death — along with the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 — sparked nationwide protests about police killings of unarmed Black people.
The charges: The Justice Department claims the officers violated Taylor’s civil rights by lying in order to obtain a warrant for Taylor’s home and for firing into her apartment through a covered window and covered glass door.
The indictment claims that former Louisville Metro Police Department Detective Joshua Jaynes and current Sgt. Kyle Meany wrote and approved an affidavit they knew to contain false information. It also claims that they knew the warrant would be carried out by armed officers, creating a potentially dangerous situation for the officers and occupants of the home.
Another officer, Detective Kelly Goodlett, was charged with conspiring with Jaynes to file the false affidavit, and for filing a false report to cover it up.
Former Louisville Metro Detective Brett Hankison was charged with civil rights offenses for firing his weapon through a sliding glass door that was covered with blinds and a curtain. Several bullets fired by Hankison allegedly traveled through the wall and into an apartment occupied by Taylor’s neighbors.
Neither of the officers who shot and killed Taylor were included in the recent indictments, and Garland said the officers who carried out the warrant were unaware of the false statements it contained.
What’s next? The Justice Department still has an ongoing pattern or practice investigation looking into systemic issues within the Louisville Police Department. The defendants indicted on Thursday have yet to be convicted.
Key quote: “We share but we cannot fully imagine the grief felt by Breonna Taylor’s loved ones and all those affected by the events of March 13, 2020,” Garland said. “Breonna Taylor should be alive today.”