Justice Department charges 4 Louisville police officers connected to Breonna Taylor killing

Washington — The Justice Department on Thursday filed federal charges against four current and former Louisville police officers linked to Louisville’s 2020 death bryon taylorWho was shot dead by the police in a raid on her apartment while she was sleeping.

The charges against defendants Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meaney, Kelly Goodlett and Brett Hankison include various civil rights violations, conspiracy, use of force offenses and obstruction. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the civil rights charges against the three officers stemmed from an alleged falsification of an affidavit used to obtain the “no-knock” search warrants that authorized the morning raid on Taylor’s apartment.

“The federal charges announced today allege that members of the Location-Based Investigation Unit falsified an affidavit used to obtain a search warrant of Ms. Taylor died as a result,” Garland told the Justice Department.

Taylor was shot on March 13, 2020, when officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department broke into her apartment, where she was sleeping with her boyfriend, who took officers to the intruders and asked them to enter. But he turned his hand. In response, officers fired 22 shots into the apartment, one of which hit Taylor in the chest, killing him.

In the charge documents, prosecutors said Goodlett and Jaynes included false and misleading information in an application for a search warrant, specifically that a postal inspector had informed Goodlett that the target of their drug trafficking investigation was Taylor’s. Had to receive the package at the address. It was false, prosecutors allege, but Meaney, his supervisor, approved the warrant application anyway.

“We allege that the defendants knew that their actions in falsifying the affidavit could lead to a dangerous situation, and we allege that these unlawful acts resulted in the death of Ms. Taylor,” Garland said.

The attorney general said Jaynes, Goodlett and Meaney also “took steps to cover up their unlawful conduct following Ms Taylor’s death” and “conspired to mislead federal, state and local officials investigating the incident.” ”

After seeing media reports of Taylor’s death, Jaynes and Goodlett reportedly met in a garage on the night of May 17, 2020, and devised a plan to tell investigators a false story about the affidavit.

Meaney is also accused of lying to investigators about the officers’ unannounced entry into Taylor’s home. According to charge documents, Meaney told the FBI that his officers executed a “no-knock” warrant at the request of the SWAT unit, when in fact they knew the unit had not made such a request.

In a separate indictment, Hankison was charged with two counts of denial of rights by firing 10 rounds through a window and glass door after he was killed in Taylor’s apartment. hankinson was released On state charges of grievous endangerment during a trial earlier this year.

The allegations came more than a year after the Justice Department launched a civil rights investigation into the patterns and practices of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, an investigation that is separate and ongoing, a release from the department noted.

“The charges announced today are criminal against individual officers, while the ongoing pattern or practice investigation is a civil investigation investigating allegations of systematic violations of the Constitution and federal law by the LMPD and the Louisville Metro,” the department said. “Civil pattern or practice investigations are being handled by a separate team of career staff, independently of the criminal case.”

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