U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that the Department of Justice has filed charges against four former and current Louisville police officers in connection with the death of Breonna Taylor. The charges include civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracies, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction offenses.
"The federal charges announced today allege that members of a Police Investigations Unit falsified the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant of Ms. Taylor's home and that this act violated federal civil rights laws, and that those violations resulted in Ms. Taylor's death," Garland said in a news conference.
4 Louisville officers face federal charges in drug raid that led to Breonna Taylor's death
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was shot to death by Louisville, Ky., officers who had knocked down her door while executing a search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times.Hankison, who was dismissed from the department in 2020, was one of the officers at Taylor’s door and one of three who fired shots that night. He was acquitted by a jury of state charges of wanton endangerment earlier this year in Louisville.Jaynes had applied for the warrant to search Taylor’s house.
The federal charges against officer Joshua Jaynes, former Louisville detective Kelly Goodlett and officer Kyle Meany allege that they violated Taylor's 4th Amendment rights when they sought a warrant to search Taylor's home while knowing they lacked probable cause, and that they knew their affidavit supporting the contained false and misleading information and omitted other material information, resulting in her death. Goodlett and Jaynes have been charged with conspiracy for allegedly falsifying the affidavit for a search warrant, according to the justice department.
Prosecutors allege that Jaynes and Goodlett met in a garage after Taylor's death "where they agreed to tell investigators" looking into the botched raid "a false story."
Charges in Breonna Taylor's Death Explained, Potential Sentences
The Justice Department said the officers were charged with "civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracies, obstruction offenses, and use of excessive force."During a press conference, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that his office has filed federal charges against Louisville Metro Police Department's Detective Joshua Jaynes and Sergeant Kyle Meany, as well as against former Detective Kelly Goodlett and former Officer Brett Hankison.
Charges have also been filed against Brett Hankison a former Louisville Metro Police officer who was involved in the death of Breonna Taylor. Hankison has been charged in a two-count indictment for deprivation of rights under color of law, both of which are civil rights offenses.
Hankison allegedly used unconstitutional excessive force during the raid when he fired 10 shots through a window and sliding glass door in Taylor's home that was covered in blinds and curtains after there was no longer a "lawful objective justifying the use of deadly force."
The Justice Department has had a pattern or practice investigation ongoing into the Louisville Police Department since April 2021. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke from DOJ's Civil Rights Division told reporters that the separate investigation remains ongoing and that DOJ has a team on the ground still conducting interviews with stakeholders and conducting ride-alongs with police there.
Garland said he spoke with Taylor's family earlier Thursday and informed them of the charges.
"We share, but we cannot fully imagine, the grief felt by Breanna Taylor's loved ones and all of those affected by the events of March 13, 2020. Breonna Taylor should be alive today," Garland said during a press conference.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
-ABC News' Alexander Mallin and Jack Date contributed to this report
Reports: Ex-officer to plead guilty in Breonna Taylor case .
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Former Louisville police Detective Kelly Goodlett intends to plead guilty to a civil rights charge stemming from the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman whose death in a botched police drug raid helped spark racial justice protests in 2020. Goodlett is set to appear Aug. 22 before a federal judge to enter her plea, media outlets reported, citing her lawyer, Brandon Marshall. Marshall did not immediately return phone calls and emails seeking comment Friday.