The charges are the first federal charges against any of the officers involved in the 2020 shooting. in a foiled raid. In addition to civil rights violations, federal authorities charged them with unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction, Garland said.
Joshua Jaynes, Kelly Goodlett and Kyle Meany were charged with filing a false statement in connection with a search warrant at Taylor’s home prior to the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department’s 2020 search warrant. March. raid and later together to create a “false cover in an attempt to avoid responsibility for their roles. in preparing a warrant that 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 in interviews with forensics.
“We assert 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 did not have probable cause to search,” the attorney general said.
The affidavit falsely stated that officers verified that the subject of their drug trafficking investigation had received shipments at Taylor’s address, but Jaynes and Goodlett knew that was not true, Garland said.
“We also assert that defendants Jaynes and Meany knew that the search warrant would be executed by armed LMPD officers and that the execution of the search could create a dangerous situation for anyone who happened to be in Ms. Taylor’s home,” he said.
Jaynes, who emerged from the prison wearing shorts and a polo shirt, pleads guilty to the charges. Prosecutors are not asking to hold him pending trial. But they are asking that he be barred from contacting potential witnesses or defendants in the case.
Brett Hankison, who fired 10 shots into Taylor’s home and was acquitted of reckless endangerment charges earlier this year, has been charged with two federal counts of deprivation of rights. Hankison’s attorney declined to comment. Only Hankison has been charged at the state level.
The attorney general said Goodlett and Jaynes met in a garage several weeks after the botched raid and conspired to give false information to investigators.
The officers who conducted the search were not involved in drawing up the warrant and did not know it contained false information, the attorney general said.
Hankison was at the scene when the search warrant was executed and is charged with willful use of unconstitutionally excessive force.
Lawyer: ‘A huge step towards justice’
“We share but cannot fully imagine the grief Breonna Taylor’s loved ones and all those affected by 2020 have felt. March 13 events,” Garland said. “Breonna Taylor should be alive today.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Taylor’s family, welcomed the charges, as well as the “tough fight” by Taylor’s family, attorneys, advocates and community members.
“Today was a huge step toward justice. We are grateful for the diligence and dedication of the FBI and (U.S. Department of Justice) as they investigated what led to Breonna’s murder and what happened afterward. The justice Breonna received today would not have been possible without Attorney General Merrick Garland or Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke,” Crump said in a statement.
Jaynes was fired for “failing to complete a search warrant operations plan form” and falsely confirming that Taylor’s previous boyfriend, Jamarkus Glover, had received packages at Taylor’s home, the termination letter said.
After his termination, Jaynes’ attorney, Thomas Clay, said the move was not unexpected and vowed to fight to have his client reinstated.
“It is our position that he has done nothing wrong in his activities related to this search,” the 2021 Clay told CNN in January.
The Louisville police union said at the time that the shooting was “unjustified.”
“There is absolutely no evidence in this case that LMPD’s policies and procedures were violated to the extent of warranting termination,” the River City Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement. Not only did Interim Chief (Yvette) Gentry make the wrong decision, but she sent an ominous message to every sworn officer in the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department.
None of the officers involved in the raid have previously been charged with Taylor’s actual murder.
State prosecutors charged only Hankison in the shooting. LMPD fired Hankison in 2020. in June, and in 2020 in September, a grand jury indicted Hankison on three counts of wanton endangerment for blindly firing 10 shots into Taylor’s home.
In March, a jury acquitted Hankison of all charges.
CNN’s Amir Vera contributed to this report.