Four current and former Louisville police officers were charged Thursday with federal crimes connected to the 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, NPR reports. The 26-year-old emergency medical technician was shot and killed by police in a nighttime "no-knock" warrant to storm her home while she was sleeping with her boyfriend. Believing they were intruders, her boyfriend fired one shot at the officers with his handgun. The officers responded by firing 22 bullets, killing Taylor with a shot to the chest. The fatal shooting of Taylor, a Black woman, along with the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, galvanized racial justice protests in the spring and summer of 2020.
The new charges against defendants Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany, Brett Hankison and Kelly Goodlett include civil rights violations, conspiracy, use of excessive force offenses and obstruction. Charging documents say Jaynes, Meany and Goodlett lied to obtain a warrant used to search Taylor's apartment in an act that violated federal civil rights laws and led to Taylor's death, said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. "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," Garland said. Jaynes, a former Louisville police detective, Meany, a current sergeant, and Goodlett a current detective, also "took steps to cover up their unlawful conduct" and "conspired to mislead federal, state and local authorities who were investigating the incident," Garland said. Former officer Hankison also faces civil rights charges of using excessive force for firing 10 additional shots into Taylor's apartment. Hankison was fired in June 2020. This year, a jury found Hankison not guilty on state charges of wanton endangerment.