Breonna Taylor: Four US police officers face civil rights charges after deadly shooting

·2-min read
Breonna Taylor posing during a graduation ceremony in Louisville Kentucky (Courtesy of Family of Breonna Taylor)
Breonna Taylor posing during a graduation ceremony in Louisville Kentucky (Courtesy of Family of Breonna Taylor)

Four US police officers are facing federal charges over the fatal 2020 shooting of Kentucky woman Breonna Taylor.

Officers killed Ms Taylor as they were executing a ‘no knock’ search warrant, causing racial justice protests across the country.

The 26-year-old African American hospital worker was shot by officers multiple times as they stormed her apartment shortly after midnight.

In a press conference Thursday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said federal officials “share but cannot fully imagine the grief” felt by Ms Taylor’s family, adding: “Breonna Taylor should be alive today".

He named officers Joshua Jaynes, Kelly Goodlett, Kyle Meany and Brett Hankison as current or former officers of the Louisville Metro Police Department as those facing the federal charges.

He said the charges range from unlawful conspiracies, use of force and obstruction of justice.

Attorney General Merrick Garland (AP)
Attorney General Merrick Garland (AP)

Mr Garland added that three of the officers had been charged with falsification of a search warrant.

Members of the Taylor family welcomed the charges.

"This is a day when Black women saw equal justice in America," lawyer Benjamin Crump said.

Some of Taylor’s family and other supporters gathered in a park downtown Thursday and chanted "Say her name, Breonna Taylor!"

Mr Hankinson is facing two civil rights charges alleging he used excessive force when he retreated from Ms Taylor’s door, turned a corner and fired 10 shots into the side of her two-bedroom apartment.

He had been acquitted by a jury of state charges of wanton endangerment earlier this year.

The Attorney General told reporters that two of the officers were charged for allegedly conspiring to falsify an investigative document that was written after Ms Taylor’s death.

He said: “We allege that Ms. Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when defendants Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany and Kelly Goodlett sought a warrant to search Ms. Taylor’s home knowing the officers lacked probable cause for the search.

"We further allege that defendants Jaynes and Meany knew the search warrant would be carried out by armed LMPD officers and that conducting that search could create a dangerous situation for anyone who happened to be in Ms. Taylor’s home.”

Federal investigators also allege Mr Meany, who testified at Hankison’s trial earlier this year, lied to the FBI during its investigation.

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