Black Lives matter: U.S. charges four police officers over 2020 killing of Breonna Taylor

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The FBI on Thursday, August 4 arrested and brought civil rights charges against four current and former Louisville, Kentucky, police officers for their roles in the 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot in her home.

The FBI said that Louisville police officers, including Kyle Meany and Joshua Jaynes, knowingly used false information to obtain the search warrant that authorized the search of Taylor’s home that led to her shooting.

Black Lives matter: U.S. charges four police officers over 2020 killing of Breonna Taylor

The death of Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was unarmed, was one in a trio of cases (including Ahmaud Aubrey and George Floyd) that fueled a summer of protests against racial injustice and police violence in 2020, when the country was battling the coronavirus pandemic.


Only one officer involved in the raid – former Louisville detective Brett Hankinson – had been previously charged over the case.


But Hankinson, who fired 10 shots during the incident, was acquitted by a jury earlier this year. He is among the four people to face new charges through the US Department of Justice.

Black Lives matter: U.S. charges four police officers over 2020 killing of Breonna Taylor

The others are Joshua Jaynes, also a former officer, and serving officers Kelly Hanna Goodlett and Kyle Meany.

Black Lives matter: U.S. charges four police officers over 2020 killing of Breonna Taylor

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the new charges on Thursday. He said the officers were being charged with civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction.


Garland added that three of the officers – all but Hankinson – had been charged with falsification of a search warrant.


Hankinson is charged with using excessive force when he opened fire during the raid.


“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Garland told reporters.


The search warrant obtained by police included Ms Taylor’s name and address. Authorities believed that an ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was involved in a drug ring and had used her apartment to hide narcotics.


No drugs were found at the property, though Jefferson County Prosecutor Thomas Wine said the search had been cancelled after the shooting.


In 2020, the Taylor family sued Louisville police and reached a $12m (£9m) settlement.


Reacting to news of the new charges on Thursday, the family’s lawyers said: “Today was a huge step toward justice.”


Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker shot and wounded one of the police officers in the leg during the raid, taking him for an intruder. But the charges against him were later dismissed by the Justice Department.