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4 police officers federally charged with civil rights violation in Breonna Taylor death

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the charges against the current or former officers Thursday in the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker.

Four current or former police officers in Louisville, Kentucky, have been charged with violating Breonna Taylor‘s civil rights in the 2020 botched raid that led to the young Black woman’s death, federal officials said Thursday.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, in announcing the charges, said the Justice Department alleges that the violations “resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death.”

Detective Joshua Jaynes, with the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, obtained the no-knock warrant used in the March 13, 2020, search of Taylor’s apartment.

Jaynes, Kelly Goodlett, who along with Jaynes was a detective in the Place-Based Investigations unit that investigated drug trafficking, and Sgt. Kyle Meany, who supervised the unit, were charged with falsifying an affidavit.

In a separate indictment, Brett Hankison was charged with using excessive force while executing the search warrant.

During the early morning raid, officers opened fire, killing Taylor, after her boyfriend, believing an intruder was trying to break in, fired a gun toward the door.

Taylor’s boyfriend lawfully possessed the gun, Garland said. And after he fired and struck an officer, two officers then fired 22 shots, one of which fatally struck Taylor in the chest, Garland said.

“The federal charges announced today allege that members of the Place-Based Investigations unit falsified the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant of Ms. Taylor’s home,” Garland said, adding “that this act violated federal civil rights laws and that those violations resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death.”

Garland also said the search warrant was sought while officers knew they lacked probable cause for the search. Jaynes and Goodlett, Garland said, falsely claimed officers verified the target of the alleged drug trafficking had received packages at Taylor’s address.

“Defendants Jaynes and Goodlett knew that was not true,” Garland said.

The bungled raid targeted Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, a convicted drug dealer, who was not in the apartment at the time. That man, Jamarcus Glover, has said Taylor had no involvement in the drug trade.

The officers involved in the raid were unaware of the misleading statements in the search warrant affidavit, Garland said.

Hankison is charged with using excessive force, Garland said, because after Taylor was shot, he moved from a doorway and fired 10 more shots through a window and a sliding glass door both covered with blinds and curtains.

Hankison, a former officer in the department, was found not guilty on all counts in March of endangering a couple and their 5-year-old son the night of the raid. He was accused of endangering Cody Etherton, his partner, Chelsey Napper, and their son when he fired shots that went into their apartment.

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