4 Kentucky police officers charged in Breonna Taylor killing

Race in America

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (NewsNation) — The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday brought civil rights charges against four current and former Louisville police officers for their roles in the 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor — a Black woman who was killed in her home.

Federal charges against former officers Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison and Kelly Goodlett, along with Sgt. Kyle Meany, were announced by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Garland said federal officials “share but cannot fully imagine the grief” felt by Taylor’s family.

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in announcing the charges, which include unlawful conspiracy, use of force and obstruction of justice.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was shot to death by Louisville officers who had knocked down her door while executing a search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times.

Hankison, who was dismissed from the department in 2020, was one of the officers at Taylor’s door and one of three who fired shots that night. He was acquitted by a jury of state charges of wanton endangerment earlier this year in Louisville.

Jaynes had applied for the warrant to search Taylor’s house. He was fired in January 2021 by former Louisville Police interim chief Yvette Gentry for violating department standards in the preparation of a search warrant execution and for being “untruthful” in the Taylor warrant.

Taylor’s killing sparked protests and calls for racial justice across the country.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer welcomed the development in a statement.

“After two long years of relentless investigations, today’s indictments are a critical step forward in the process toward achieving justice for Breonna Taylor. My thoughts are with Ms. Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mother, and all those who loved and cared for Breonna,” the statement read in part.

This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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