Death of Breonna Taylor: Four current former Louisville police officers charged by the federal government

The charges mark the first federal charges brought against any of the officers involved in the botched 2020 raid. In addition to civil rights violations, federal authorities have charged the four men with unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction, Garland said.

Joshua Jaynes, Kelly Goodlett and Kyle Meany have been accused of submitting a false affidavit to search Taylor’s home before the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department raid in March 2020, then working together to create a “false story for the purpose of escaping responsibility for their roles in preparing the warrant affidavit which contained false information,” according to court documents..

They are also accused of conspiring after the shooting to cover up that the warrant was based on false information, as well as making false statements during interviews with criminal investigators.

“We allege that Ms. Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when defendants Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany and Kelly Goodlett sought a warrant to search Ms. Taylor’s home, knowing that the officers had no probable cause for the search,” the attorney general said.

The affidavit falsely claimed that officers had verified that the target of their drug trafficking investigation had received packages addressed to Taylor, but Jaynes and Goodlett knew that was not true, Garland said.

“We further allege that defendants Jaynes and Meany knew that the search warrant would be executed by armed LMPD officers and that this search could create a dangerous situation for anyone at Ms. Taylor’s home,” he said. declared.

Jaynes, appearing virtually from a detention center wearing shorts and a polo shirt, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Prosecutors are not asking that he be detained pending trial. But they ask that he be prohibited from contacting any witnesses or defendants in the case.

Brett Hankison, who fired 10 shots at Taylor’s home and was acquitted of wanton state endangerment charges earlier this year, has been charged with two federal counts of disenfranchisement under cover of the law. Hankison’s attorney declined to comment. Only Hankison has been charged at the state level.

Goodlett and Jaynes met in a garage weeks after the failed raid and conspired to pass false information to investigators, the attorney general claimed.

The officers who executed the search warrant were not involved in writing the warrant and were unaware that it contained false information, the attorney general said.

Hankison was at the scene when the search warrant was executed and is charged with willfully using unconstitutional excessive force.

Lawyer: “A big step towards justice”

“We share but 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.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Taylor’s family, applauded the charges, as well as the “hard fight” waged by Taylor’s family, attorneys, attorneys and community members.

“Today was a big step towards justice. We are grateful for the diligence and dedication of the FBI and the (US Department of Justice) as they investigate what led to Breonna’s murder and what The justice Breonna received today would not have been possible without the efforts of Attorney General Merrick Garland or Assistant AG for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke,” Crump said in the post. a statement. “We hope this announcement of a guilty plea sends a message to all the other officers involved that it’s time to stop covering up and accept responsibility for their role in the death of a beautiful young woman. innocent black.”

In January 2021, the LMPD fired Jaynes and co-worker Myles Cosgrove. Cosgrove was fired for using lethal force by firing 16 rounds into Taylor’s home and failing to activate his body camera, according to a copy of his termination letter.

Jaynes was fired for ‘failing to complete a search warrant operations plan form’ and lying about verifying that Taylor’s former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, received packages at Taylor’s home , indicates the letter of dismissal.

After his dismissal, Jaynes’ attorney Thomas Clay said the move was not unexpected and vowed to fight for his client to be reinstated.

“We are of the opinion that he did nothing wrong in any of the activities related to this research,” Clay told CNN in January 2021.

Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said, adding that the shooting was justified because Taylor’s boyfriend shot the officers first. Kenneth Walker II, Taylor’s boyfriend, repeatedly said he thought the officers were intruders and fired a shot when they broke down the door.
A review committee confirmed Cosgrove’s dismissal last yearand Jaynes lost a similar appeal to the board in June, according to CNN affiliate WDRB.

The Louisville Police Union said at the time that the layoffs were “unjustified.”

“There is certainly no evidence in this case that LMPD policies and procedures were violated to the point of warranting his termination,” the Fraternal Order of Police in River City said in a statement. “Acting Chief (Yvette) Gentry not only made the wrong decision, but also sent a disturbing message to all sworn officers in the Louisville Metro Police Department.”

Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician, was fatally shot in her apartment in a flawed break-in in the early hours of March 13, 2020. Her death, along with those of other black people at the hands of the enforcement of the law – including George Floyd in Minnesota and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia – sparked a summer of protests demanding police reform.

No officers involved in the raid have been charged in Taylor’s murder.

State prosecutors only charged Hankison in connection with the shooting. The LMPD fired Hankison in June 2020, and in September 2020 a grand jury indicted Hankison on three counts of wanton felony endangerment for indiscriminately firing 10 shots into Taylor’s home.

A jury acquitted Hankison of all charges in March.

CNN’s Amir Vera contributed to this report.

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