The federal government has charged four policemen of civil rights crimes, giving false information to secure a search warrant for Breonna Taylor’s residence, and a number of other offenses.
On March 13, 2020, in Louisville, Kentucky, police officers searched her residence during a late-night raid. According to recent reports, two cops lied to obtain a search warrant for the property of the 26-year-old. Her horrific death provoked significant protests around the nation.
The four Louisville police officers who participated in the raid that ultimately resulted in Breonna Taylor’s death were charged with violations of their civil rights by the federal government on Aug. 4. As one officer, Detective Brett Hankison, 45, was previously cleared of state charges following a week-long trial at Jefferson County Circuit Court, the charges filed by the federal government are an additional attempt to hold these officers accountable for their acts.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a press conference to announce the federal charges that Breonna Taylor “should be alive today.” As a result of the Louisville officers’ “violations of federal civil rights laws, and those violation resulted in Ms. Taylor death,” he highlighted.
Along with current officers Kelly Goodlett and Sgt. Kyle Meany, the federal government has filed charges against former officers Joshua Jaynes and Brett Hankison.
Goodlett and Meany are being charged for “Allegedly conspired to falsify an investigative document that was written after Taylor’s death”, the Attorney General stated. The two are being charged with conspiracy and deprivation of rights.
According to APNews, Jaynes and Meany were both aware that the information in the search warrant for Taylor’s residence was “false, misleading, and out of date.” When the documentation Jaynes had submitted for the warrant to search Taylor’s home was later discovered to be “untruthful,” he lost his job in January 2021. Federal investigators also think Jaynes and Goodlett met in 2020 to allegedly discuss and ultimately agree to give the investigators a false account in order to avoid being exposed to the public and face public scrutiny.
“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,” Garland said.
According to the Garland, the officers who executed the search warrant were not engaged in its creation and were not aware it contained incorrect information.
Joshua Jaynes was let go in January 2021 for failing to follow departmental guidelines when preparing to carry out a search warrant and for using “untruthful” language in the warrant.
Breonna’s legacy will carry on as people across the country celebrate the federal government’s action in bringing those responsible accountable for their acts.
Bernice King tweeted, “In this moment, I’m thinking of #BreonnaTaylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer. Her daughter should be alive. These charges are a firm reiteration that Breonna’s life continues to matter and that police cannot be allowed to violate with impunity. #SayHerName”
Another user tweeted, “Accountability is long overdue. Breonna’s life mattered and we will never stop saying her name.”