4 current and former police officers face federal charges over Breonna Taylor’s death

The Department of Justice has filed federal civil rights charges against four current and former Louisville, Kentucky, police officers in connection with the death of Breonna Taylor, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was killed on March 13, 2020, when police officers raided her Louisville apartment as part of a drug investigation and exchanged gunfire with her boyfriend, who thought the officers were intruders; no evidence was found in connection with the probe. Taylor’s death sparked racial justice demonstrations across the country, and led to Louisville banning no-knock warrants.

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

Detective Kelly Goodlett, Sgt. Kyle Meany, and former detective Joshua Jaynes stand accused of falsifying an affidavit used to obtain a search warrant of Taylor’s home, with Garland saying that “among other things, the affidavit falsely claimed that officers had verified that the target of the alleged drug trafficking operation had received packages at Ms. Taylor’s address. In fact, defendants Jaynes and Goodlett knew that was not true.” Jaynes and Goodlett also allegedly spoke after Taylor’s death and agreed to tell investigators a “false story” about the botched raid.

A fourth person, former officer Brett Hankison, was charged with two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, after allegedly using unconstitutional excessive force during the raid. Hankison was acquitted earlier this year on state charges of wanton endangerment.

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