Eastern time, this article was updated at 2:18.
For their acts in connection with the police homicide of Breonna Taylor in March 2020, four current and former Louisville Metro Police Department officers are being charged with violating federal civil rights laws.
This week, federal grand juries indicted current LMPD sergeant Kyle Meany, former detectives Brett Hankison and Joshua Jaynes, and former detective Brett Hankison. Officer Kelly Goodlett was charged on information and on duty.
According to a statement from the LMPD, Chief Erika Shields started the procedure to fire Meany and Goodlett on Thursday.
In August 2022, federal charges were brought against Kyle Meany, Brett Hankison, Joshua Jaynes, and Kelly Goodlett, clockwise from upper left.
For knowingly employing excessive force that was unnecessary and unconstitutional during the raid on Taylor’s residence, Hankison is accused of two civil rights crimes.
At a news conference on Thursday, Kristen Clarke, the U.S. Department of Justice’s associate attorney general for civil rights, discussed the indictments.
According to Clarke, community safety requires that police officers only use force when it is absolutely essential to protect their own lives or the lives of others, and even then, they must proceed with extreme caution. According to the indictment filed today, Hankison used excessive force against Breonna Taylor, her visitor, and her neighbors, whose lives were put in danger when gunfire entered their apartment.
In the early hours of March 13, 2020, while police stormed Taylor’s residence, Hankison shot into a nearby flat and was previously charged with wanton endangerment. He was the only cop charged by a grand jury in Kentucky, and he was exonerated earlier this year.
In order to obtain a search warrant for Taylor’s home—which ultimately led to her death—Jaynes and Meany are now being charged with obstruction and civil rights violations. Additionally, the DOJ accused Goodlett, Jaynes, and Meany of violating Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights by intentionally requesting a search warrant for her residence even though there was no probable cause to do so.
At the news conference, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “We further alleged that defendants Jaynes and Meany knew the search warrant would be executed 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.”
Thomas Clay, the attorney for Jaynes, did not reply to WFPL News’ requests for comment. He informed WDRB that the FBI had arrested Jaynes on Thursday morning.
Because Jaynes lied in the application for the search warrant for Taylor’s residence, he was let go from the LMPD. He twice protested his dismissal without success.
In a statement released on Thursday, Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar, and Lonita Baker, civil rights and personal injury lawyers who represented Taylor’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city that led to a record settlement, said that the DOJ’s indictments set a standard for responsibility.
Families whose loved ones were unlawfully killed by the police continue to struggle and pray for justice and accountability in these cases. The statement read, “We must support them.”
Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, expressed similar views in a statement regarding the two-year FBI probe.
Even if we cannot undo Taylor’s awful loss, we can and must keep working for her justice, Fischer added. There can be no shortcuts to due process or justice, despite the fact that I am aware that some people might believe that this process has dragged on for too long.