San Francisco Chronicle
U.S. charges for 4 Louisville officers in fatal 2020 raid
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The federal government filed civil rights charges Thursday against four Louisville police officers over the drug raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman whose fatal shooting helped fuel the racial justice protests that rocked the nation in 2020.
The charges are another effort to hold law enforcement accountable for the killing of the 26-year-old medical worker after one of the officers was acquitted of state charges earlier this year.
“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in announcing the charges, which include unlawful conspiracy, use of force and obstruction of justice.
The charges named former officers Joshua Jaynes and Brett Hankison, along with current officers Kelly Goodlett and Sgt. Kyle Meany. Most of the charges stem from the faulty drug warrant used to search Taylor’s home.
Hankison was the only officer charged Thursday who was on the scene that night. Louisville police said they are seeking to fire Goodlett and Meany.
Taylor was shot to death by officers who 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.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said she has waited nearly 2½ years for police to be held accountable.
“Today’s overdue, but it still hurts,” she said. Hankison was indicted on two deprivation-ofrights charges alleging he used excessive force when he retreated from Taylor’s door, turned a corner and fired 10 shots into the side of her two-bedroom apartment. Bullets flew into a neighbor’s apartment, nearly striking one man.
He was acquitted by a jury of state charges earlier this year in Louisville.
A separate indictment said Jaynes and Meany both knew the warrant used to search Taylor’s home had information that was “false, misleading and out of date.” Both are charged with conspiracy and deprivation of rights.