Four former and current Louisville, Kentucky police officers, were charged with federal crimes connected to the 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman asleep in her home, in a case that sparked nationwide protests.
Taylor’s death, along with the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, fueled a summer of protests against racial injustice and police violence.
The protests were sparked two years ago in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The charges were a result of the Justice Department’s effort to combat abuses and racial inequities in policing, which came in the wake of a surge of controversial police shootings of Black Americans.
The federal charges are being called a huge step toward justice.
The Death Of Breonna Taylor
Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump said in a statement that it’d been a difficult two years since Breonna Taylor’s death for her family and advocates fighting for her.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, had police enter her home during a nighttime “no-knock” warrant.
They stormed her home while she was sleeping with her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend, believing the police were intruders, fired one shot at the officers using a legally-owned handgun.
Taylor was hit by a fatal shot to the chest by one of the 22 rounds that the officers fired in response.
The Police Officers Charged
The four officers have been charged in regard to this case. The officers are former officers Joshua Jaynes and Brett Hankinson and current Officer Kelly Ann Goodlett and Sgt. Kyle Meany. Goodlett and Meany are in the process of being terminated.
Jaynes and Meany
Joshua Jaynes, former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Detective, and current Sergeant Kyle Meany were charged with civil rights violations and obstruction of justice.
According to the Justice Department, the two men are accused of using fraudulent information to get the search warrant that allowed the disastrous raid on Taylor’s home on March 13, 2020, which resulted in her death.
Taylor’s constitutional rights were allegedly intentionally violated by Jaynes and Meany, who are accused of creating and approving a fraudulent affidavit to get the search warrant.
Along with Jaynes and Meany, current Detective Kelly Goodlet also “took steps to cover up their unlawful conduct” and “conspired to mislead federal, state and local authorities who were investigating the incident,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press conference.
According to the prosecution, Jaynes and Goodlett gathered in a garage days after the shooting to come up with a fabricated narrative to explain and justify the fabricated evidence they had used to support the disastrous raid.
A fourth officer, former Detective Brett Hankison, faces civil rights charges for allegedly using excessive force.
Hankison fired 10 shots into Taylor’s home and was acquitted on state wanton endangerment charges earlier this year.
He was indicted on two federal counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.
Louisville Metro Government
Federal investigators with the Justice Department are also investigating to determine if the Louisville Metro Government and Louisville police have a pattern of abusing residents’ civil rights.
“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Garland told the news conference.
“The Justice Department is committed to defending and protecting the civil rights of every person in this country. That was this department’s founding purpose, and it remains our urgent mission.”
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