World · August 5, 2022

Four police officers accused of Breonna Taylor’s death

On Thursday, the United States Department of Justice charged four police officers in the death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman killed in a failed 2020 raid on her home in Louisville, Kentucky.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said officers face federal charges of civil rights offenses, illegal conspiracy, misrepresentation, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction.

“We affirm that these crimes resulted in Miss Taylor’s death,” Garland said. “Breonna Taylor should be alive today.”

The deaths of Taylor and George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020, has become the focus of a wave of mass protests in the United States and beyond against racial injustice. and police brutality.

26-year-old Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping in their apartment around midnight on March 13, 2020 when they heard a noise at the door.

Walker, believing it to be a break-in, fired his gun, injuring a police officer.

Police, who had obtained a controversial no-knock warrant for a drug arrest, responded with more than 30 shots, mortally wounding Taylor.

Garland said three of the Louisville police officers – Joshua Jaynes, 45, Kyle Meany, 35, and Kelly Goodlett – were involved in forging a search warrant in a drug trafficking case against the former boyfriend. Taylor.

They are accused of violating Taylor’s rights by asking for a warrant to search his home when they knew they had no probable cause.

“We affirm that the defendants knew that the affidavit supporting this warrant contained false and misleading information and that it omitted material information,” Garland said.

He added that the officers would also “take steps to cover up their illegal conduct after Miss Taylor was killed.”

– ‘Big step towards justice’ –

The fourth police officer, Brett Hankison, was accused of using excessive force by opening fire wildly during the raid that left Taylor dead.

46-year-old Hankison was previously found not guilty in March of this year on state charges of “reckless danger” for his actions during the raid on Taylor’s home.

Taylor’s boyfriend Walker said the police broke down the door without warning. The agents insisted they had identified themselves.

Two of the officers involved were fired, but Hankison was the only one facing state charges, which did not involve Taylor’s death, but the danger to the residents of nearby apartments.

Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who represented Taylor’s family, welcomed the allegations filed against the officers.

“Today was a huge step towards justice,” Crump said in a statement.

He said he hopes it “sends a message to all the other officers involved that it is time to stop covering up and accept responsibility for their roles in causing the death of an innocent young beautiful black woman.”

“Thanks to Breonna Taylor, we can say that this is a day when black women have seen equal justice in the United States of America,” Crump continued during a press conference with family members.

The city of Louisville, the largest in Kentucky, settled a manslaughter lawsuit with Taylor’s family for $ 12 million in September 2020.

The Justice Department said violating a person’s constitutional rights carries a maximum penalty of life in prison when it results in death or involves an attempted murder.

Obstruction carries a maximum penalty of 20 years, while conspiracy and false statements are punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.