Feds charge 4 police officers in Breonna Taylor's fatal shooting
The officers were charged with civil rights offenses, unconstitutional use of force, obstruction and conspiracy
By Taylor Six
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Four current and former Louisville police officers have been arrested for their roles in a botched search warrant that was executed at the home of Breonna Taylor and resulted in her death.
Kelly Goodlett, Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany and Brett Hankison face federal charges, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday morning. The officers were charged with civil rights offenses, unconstitutional use of force, obstruction and conspiracy, Garland said.
Garland said he spoke with Taylor’s family to notify them of the arrests.
“I share but cannot imagine the grief of the family and loved ones of Breonna Taylor from events that resulted in her death ... Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Garland said.
A court record filed Thursday indicates Goodlett was charged with conspiracy. Conspiracy charges against Jaynes, another former detective, were also mentioned in the court record. He was fired from the position in 2021.
According to court documents, both Goodlett and Jaynes knowingly falsified an affidavit to get a search warrant for Breonna Taylor’s home where she was killed when police executing the search warrant fired 32 total shots. Officers fired after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at them with a legally-owned gun because he thought they were intruders breaking into Taylor’s apartment.
The court record alleges that both Goodlett and Jaynes put false and misleading information in the affidavit in order to get the warrant.
The warrant was one of five obtained by investigators who were looking into potential drug trafficking in Louisville, according to the Department of Justice. The primary target of the investigation was Jamarcus Glover, a man who had been previously arrested for committing drug offenses.
Police documents that alleged Taylor was connected to drug crimes of her ex-boyfriend, Glover, were obtained by media outlets. In the documents, police outlined their case for executing a no-knock warrant at Taylor’s apartment, citing jailhouse phone calls and other surveillance tying her to Glover and suspected drug activity.
Glover indicated in recorded jail calls that Taylor was holding money for him, but he said in a later call from the jail that he didn’t understand why police would search her apartment. He said the only thing tying him to her house was “bonds,” an apparent reference to prior bond payments made for him by Taylor, according to the Courier-Journal.
In an interview with the Courier-Journal, Glover said that the information police used to tie Taylor to the drug activity was misleading and incorrect.
The officers who carried out the warrant at Taylor’s home were not aware the information had been falsified, according to the Department of Justice.
Officials from the Department of Justice said Thursday that Goodlett and Jaynes allegedly conspired to cover up the fact that they’d use false and misleading information to get the warrant.
In narratives listed in court records, around March 10 or 11, 2020, Jaynes sent Goodlett a draft of the affidavit which claimed he verified from a postal inspector that illicit packages were being received at Taylor’s address. Court records allege that Goodlett knew the claim was false.
“Despite knowing that this allegation was false, (Goodlett) failed to change the statement or object to it,” court records state.
After Taylor’s death, Goodlett and Jaynes allegedly called, texted and met with each other to discuss the false information and coordinate a cover story, according to court records.
The two met in a garage on the evening of May 17 and stated they needed to “get on the same page because they could both go down for putting false information in the Springfield Drive warrant affidavit.”
After an investigation at the state level, Hankison was previously the only officer charged over the shooting. He was found not guilty on wanton endangerment charges. Garland said Thursday the Justice Department brings charges “when we believe substantial federal interests have not been vindicated and need to be vindicated.”
Hankison and Jaynes had previously been fired from the department prior to Thursday’s announcement.
The Justice Department said the Louisville Metro Police Department is still under a federal civil investigation separate from the charges announced Thursday.