September 25, 2023

More than two years after the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of the Louisville Metro Police Department, the officers involved are finally facing charges. On Thursday the Ministry of Justice was announced four current and former officers who played a role in the raid on Taylor’s home have been charged with civil rights violations, unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction.

The police charged include detectives involved in obtaining the “no-knock” search warrant that allowed Louisville law enforcement to enter Taylor’s home. According to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, former Detective Joshua Jaynes, Detective Kelly Goodlett and Sgt. Kyle Meany filed a false affidavit to obtain the warrant. After the raid, they allegedly worked together to create a “false story in an effort to escape responsibility for their roles in preparing the warrant affidavit that contained false information,” according to the charges.

ONE statement by the Department of Justice alleges that the officers knowingly included misleading statements, omitted material facts and used information not supported by probable cause. Garland argued that the officers “knew that the execution of the search warrant would be conducted by armed LMPD officers and could create a dangerous situation for both those officers and anyone who happened to be in Taylor’s home,” but they did so anyway.

After the raid that led to Taylor’s death, Detectives Goodlett and Janes allegedly met in a garage, where they conspired to create a false story that they offered to investigators to protect themselves.

Former detective Brett Hankison also faces charges for his role in the raid. He is accused of intentionally using “unconstitutionally excessive force,” which stemmed from his decision to fire his gun into Taylor’s apartment, through her window and door. His charges also include depriving Taylor’s neighbors of their constitutional rights because his bullets also hit their apartment.

Hankison, who fired 10 shots during the raid, was charged with wanton endangerment at the state level earlier this year but was acquitted. Until now, he has been the only officer to face charges related to the shooting that killed Taylor.

While there is no guarantee that these officers will be found guilty of all charges against them, the fact that the Justice Department itself is involved presents the best chance for any of them to face sanctions for their role in the deadly raid.

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