Attorney General Merrick Garland announced charges on Thursday against four former and current Louisville Metro police officers with federal crimes related to the 2020 fatal shooting of Kentucky resident Breonna Taylor.
The alleged crimes include “civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracies, unconstitutional use of force, and obstruction offenses,” Garland stated in a press conference.
“The four defendants were charged through two separate indictments and one information,” he continued.
According to Garland, the civil rights offenses stem from the falsification of a search warrant.
“We allege that these offenses resulted in Miss Taylor’s death,” Garland stated.
According to the AG, Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when Officers Kelly Goodlett and Joshua Jaynes allegedly falsified information on a search warrant both before and after her death in March 2020. Additionally, said Garland, the duo met in a garage following Taylor’s death and conspired to “mislead federal, state, and local authorities” who were investigating the incident in an effort to cover up the circumstances that led to Taylor’s death.
As BizPac Review reported at the time, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed after police served a late night, no-knock warrant and startled Taylor’s boyfriend, who reached for his weapon. The boyfriend fired, hitting one of the police officers in the leg. Officers returned fire, and in the chaos that followed, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed.
One former officer, Brett Hankison, was charged in 2020 with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing his weapon into Taylor’s apartment. In March, he was acquitted of those charges.
And on Thursday, Officer Hankison was again indicted, this time on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law. According to the DOJ, Hankison allegedly used unconstitutional force when he fired 10 shots through Taylor’s patio door on the night of the raid.
“Defendant Hankison… willfully used unconstitutionally excessive force while acting in his official capacity as an officer,” Garland alleged.
Also facing charges is Sgt. Kyle Meany.
“We share, but we can not fully imagine, the grief felt by Breonna Taylor’s loved ones and all of those affected by the events of March 13, 2020,” Garland stated at the press conference. “Breonna Taylor should be alive today.”
“The Justice Department is committed to defending and protecting the civil rights of every person in this country,” he continued. “That was this department’s founding purpose at it remains our urgent mission.”
Also present at the news conference was Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, whom Garland thanked for her efforts in investigating this case.
“Breonna Taylor should have awakened in her home as usual on the morning of March 13, 2020,” she said. “Tragically, she did not.”
Reaction to the fresh indictments 2 1/2 years after the incident are celebratory, at least on the left.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP] called the charges “long over due.”
“A life stolen can never be atoned for with thoughts and prayers,” the organization tweeted. “Law enforcement or not, Justice MUST have its day. And in the tragic case of #BreonnaTaylor it is long over due.”
“A Badge Will Never Be A Shield for Accountability!” the group added.
A life stolen can never be atoned for with thoughts and prayers. Law enforcement or not, Justice MUST have its day. And in the tragic case of #BreonnaTaylor it is long over due.
— NAACP (@NAACP) August 4, 2022
Others, however, see Garland’s late charges as purely political:
They had a legal warrant to search her home, her boyfriend shot at the cops in the dark who then fired back and accidentally hit her.
They were cleared of any crimes but Merrick Garland is charging them anyway because the DOJ has turned our country into a banana republic. https://t.co/R3cb5FTlOS
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) August 4, 2022
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