Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed when police raided her home while executing a no-knock warrant on Mar. 13, 2020, in Louisville, Kentucky. Taylor wasn't the subject of the warrant and was sleeping when officers rammed through her door.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said in remarks announcing the federal charges that Taylor's Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures were violated when Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany, and Kelly Goodlett sought a warrant to search Taylor's home "knowing that the officers lacked probable cause for the search."
“Among other things, the affidavit falsely claimed that officers had verified that the target of the alleged drug trafficking operation had received packages at Ms. Taylor's address. In fact, Defendants Jaynes and Goodlett knew that was not true.
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.
As outlined in the charging documents, the officers who ultimately carried out the search at Ms. Taylor's apartment were not involved in the drafting of the warrant and were unaware of the false and misleading statements it contained.
When those officers executed the search warrant, Ms. Taylor was at home with another person who was in lawful possession of a handgun.
When officers broke down the door to Ms. Taylor's apartment, that person -- believing that intruders were breaking in -- immediately fired one shot, hitting the first officer at the door.
Two officers immediately fired a total of 22 shots into the apartment. One of those shots hit Ms. Taylor in the chest and killed her.
We allege that the defendants knew their actions in falsifying the affidavit could create a dangerous situation. And we allege these unlawful acts resulted in Ms. Taylor's death.
The charges announced today also allege that the officers responsible for falsifying the affidavit that led to the search took steps to cover up their unlawful conduct after Ms. Taylor was killed.
We allege that Defendants Jaynes and Goodlett conspired to knowingly falsify an investigative document that was created after Ms. Taylor's death.
We also allege that they conspired to mislead federal, state, and local authorities who were investigating the incident. For example, we allege that in May 2020, those two defendants met in a garage where they agreed to tell investigators a false story.
The indictment separately alleges that Defendant Meany lied to the FBI during its investigation of this matter.
Another indictment filed today alleges that after Ms. Taylor was shot, another LMPD officer, Defendant Brett Hankison, moved from the doorway to the side of her apartment and fired 10 more shots through a window and a sliding glass door, both of which were covered with blinds and curtains.
Defendant Hankison has been charged with two civil rights offenses alleging that he willfully used unconstitutionally excessive force while acting in his official capacity as an officer.”
Shields said Meany will have an opportunity to meet with her "to provide me with additional information or mitigating factors," which is standard protocol. She said in her letter that his conduct "has adversely affected the morale, operations and/or efficiency of the department" and "severely damaged the image of our Department within the community."
"I cannot tolerate this type of conduct by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department," the police chief added.
Goodlett submitted a letter of resignation on Friday, department spokeswoman Alicia Smiley told the Courier-Journal.
Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor’s mother, said at the Jefferson Square Park site of months-long protests for her daughter that she “waited 874 days” for officers to be charged in her daughter’s death.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump thanked Palmer on Thursday for also showing up to the funeral of another Brianna killed in a police encounter. Brianna Grier, 28, was handcuffed and seated in the backseat of a Georgia patrol car; she fell out of the moving vehicle after Hancock County deputies left a back door of the car open. Her parents had called police to get help for their daughter in a mental health crisis.
"I just want to thank her so much for coming here today because it matters,” Crump said. “We’re getting justice for the Breonnas all over the world.”
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