Crime: DOJ charges 4 Louisville police officers connected to Breonna Taylor killing

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Washington — The Justice Department on Thursday filed federal charges against four current and former Louisville police officers connected to the 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in a raid on her apartment while she was sleeping.

The charges against defendants Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany, Kelly Goodlett and Brett Hankison include various civil rights violations, conspiracy, use of force offenses and obstruction. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the civil rights charges against three of the officers stem from alleged falsification of the affidavit used to obtain the "no-knock" search warrant that authorized the early morning raid on Taylor's apartment.

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"The federal charges announced today allege that members of the place-based investigations unit falsified the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant of Ms. Taylor's home, that this act violated federal civil rights laws and that those violations resulted in Ms. Taylor's death," Garland said at the Justice Department.

Taylor was shot on March 13, 2020, when officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department stormed into her apartment where she was asleep with her boyfriend, who took the officers for intruders and fired his handgun at them as they were entering. The officers fired 22 shots into the apartment in response, one of which struck Taylor in the chest, killing her.

Breonna Taylor © Provided by CBS News Breonna Taylor

In charging documents, prosecutors said Goodlett and Jaynes included false and misleading information in an application for the search warrant, specifically that a postal inspector had informed Goodlett that the target of their drug trafficking investigation was receiving packages at Taylor's address. That was false, prosecutors allege, but Meany, their supervisor, approved the warrant application anyway.

Feds Charges Cop Who Lied in Breonna Taylor Search Warrant Application

  Feds Charges Cop Who Lied in Breonna Taylor Search Warrant Application The FBI has arrested and charged Joshua Jaynes, the former Louisville Metro Police Department detective who lied on the search warrant application that let officers raid Breonna Taylor’s home. The disastrous “no-knock” raid in March 2020 ended up with Taylor dead. WAVE3 reported that Jaynes was arrested early Thursday morning and is charged with federal civil rights violations. In the search warrant, Jaynes wrote that he “verified with a U.S. Postal Inspector” that Taylor’s ex, whom police suspected of dealing drugs, had been receiving mail at her address.

"We allege that the defendants knew their actions in falsifying the affidavit could create a dangerous situation, and we allege these unlawful acts resulted in Ms. Taylor's death," Garland said, noting that none of the officers who executed the warrant "were not involved in the drafting of the warrant and were unaware of the false and misleading statements it contained."

The attorney general said Jaynes, Goodlett and Meany also "took steps to cover up their unlawful conduct after Ms. Taylor's death" and "conspired to mislead federal, state and local authorities who were investigating the incident."

Jaynes and Goodlett allegedly met in a garage on the night of May 17, 2020, after seeing media reports of Taylor's death, and devised a scheme to tell investigators a false story about the affidavit.

Meany is also accused of lying to investigators about the officers' unannounced entry into Taylor's home. According to charging documents, Meany told the FBI that his officers executed the "no-knock" warrant at the request of the SWAT unit, when in fact he knew that the unit did not put in such a request.

Charges in Breonna Taylor's Death Explained, Potential Sentences

  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.

In a separate indictment, Hankison was charged with two counts of deprivation of rights for firing 10 rounds through a window and glass door in Taylor's apartment after she was killed. Hankison was acquitted on state charges of wanton endangerment at trial earlier this year.

The charges come more than a year after the Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the patterns and practices of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, a probe that is separate and ongoing, a release from the department noted.

"The charges announced today are criminal against individual officers, while the ongoing pattern or practice investigation is a civil investigation that is examining allegations of systemic violations of the Constitution and federal law by LMPD and Louisville Metro," the department said. "The civil pattern or practice investigation is being handled independently from the criminal case by a different team of career staff."

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