The USA has charged 4 Kentucky cops with the homicide of Breonna Taylor

U.S. prosecutors on Thursday indicted four current and former Louisville, Kentucky, police officers for their roles in the 2020 presidential election. in a botched raid that killed a black woman, Breonna Taylor, in her home. nationwide protests.

The charges reflect the latest Justice Department efforts to crack down on abuses and racial disparities in policing following controversial police killings of black Americans.

Former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Detective Joshua Jaynes and current Sergeant Kyle Meany have been charged with civil rights violations and obstruction of justice for using false information to obtain a search warrant in 2020. March 13 to carry out the raid that killed Taylor at her home, the Justice Department said. Current detective Kelly Goodlett was charged with conspiring with Jaynes to forge the warrant and then cover up the forgery.

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A fourth officer, former detective Brett Hankison, has been charged with civil rights violations for allegedly using excessive force, U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland said.

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Garland said at a news conference. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting and defending the civil rights of every person in this country. That was the founding purpose of the Department and remains our immediate mission.”

The death of Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was one of three cases that sparked a summer of protests against racial injustice and police brutality two years ago in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today was a huge step toward justice,” Taylor’s family attorneys said in a statement following the news.

Louisville police began firing Meany and Goodlett Thursday, the department said in a statement. Hankison and Jaynes were previously fired by the department.

The Department of Justice is also investigating whether the Louisville Metro Authority and Louisville Police have engaged in a pattern or practice of abusing residents’ civil rights.

RAID WITHOUT KNOCK

Louisville police were investigating suspected drug trafficking when they broke down the door of Taylor’s home during a no-knock raid and her boyfriend, who was carrying a legal firearm, opened fire on officers, who fired 22 shots into the apartment, killing Taylor, prosecutors said.

Hankison backed away from the door and fired 10 shots into Taylor’s apartment through a window and glass door that was covered by blinds and curtains, prosecutors said.

Hankison told a Kentucky grand jury that he opened fire when the shooting began. When he saw flashes lighting up the room, he said he mistakenly thought one of the residents was shooting at his colleagues with an assault-style rifle. Instead, he mostly heard other cops firing their guns. read more

Prosecutors said Jaynes and Goodlett met in the garage days after the shooting to agree on a false story to cover up the false evidence they presented to justify the botched raid.

Attorney Stew Mathews, who represented Hankison in the Jefferson County District Court trial where he was acquitted of wanton endangerment in March, said he spoke with the former detective Thursday morning when he was on his way to surrender to the FBI.

Mathews said the federal charges appeared similar to previous state charges Hankison had faced. Until Thursday, Hankison was the only officer facing charges in connection with the raid.

“I’m sure Brett will contest this as he would any other charge,” Mathews said.

Attorney Thomas Clay, who represents Jaynes, could not immediately be reached for comment. It was not immediately clear if Meany and Goodlett had attorneys.

Taylor’s murder, along with the other high-profile 2020 killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, sparked nationwide protests.

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Reporting by Scott Malone in Washington and Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Edited by Daniel Wallis and Marla Dickerson

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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