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UPDATED: Four LMPD officers facing federal charges in connection to Breonna Taylor killing

Clockwise from upper left: Kyle Meany, Brett Hankison, Joshua Jaynes and Kelly Goodlett were indicted on federal charges in connection to the botched raid that led to the police killing of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020.
Clockwise from upper left: Kyle Meany, Brett Hankison, Joshua Jaynes and Kelly Goodlett were indicted on federal charges in connection to the botched raid that led to the police killing of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020.

This story was updated at 2:18 p.m. Eastern.

Four current and former Louisville Metro Police Department officers are facing federal civil rights charges for their actions related to the police killing of Breonna Taylor in March 2020.

Former detectives Brett Hankison and Joshua Jaynes, and active LMPD sergeant Kyle Meany were indicted by federal grand juries this week. Active officer Kelly Goodlett was charged on information.

LMPD Chief Erika Shields on Thursday initiated the process to terminate Meany and Goodlett, the department said in a statement.

Hankison is charged with two civil rights offenses for willfully using unjustified and unconstitutionally excessive force during the raid of Taylor’s home.

Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general for civil rights with the U.S. Department of Justice, spoke about the indictments during a news conference Thursday.

“Community safety dictates that police officers use their weapons only when necessary to defend their own lives or the lives of others and even then, that they must do so with great care and caution,” Clarke said. “Today’s indictment alleges that Hankison’s use of excessive force violated the rights of Breonna Taylor and her guest and also of her neighbors whose lives were endangered by bullets that penetrated into their apartment.”

Hankison was previously charged with wanton endangerment for bullets he fired into a neighboring apartment as police raided Taylor’s apartment, after midnight on March 13, 2020. He was the only officer indicted by a Kentucky grand jury, and was acquitted earlier this year.

Jaynes and Meany face charges for obstruction and civil rights violations for using false and misleading and incomplete information to get a search warrant for Taylor’s home, resulting in her death. The DOJ also charged Goodlett, Jaynes and Meany with violating Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights when seeking a search warrant for her home despite knowingly lacking probable cause.

“We further alleged that defendants Jaynes and Meany knew the search warrant would be carried out 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,”  U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said during the news conference.

Jaynes’ attorney Thomas Clay did not respond to requests for comment from WFPL News. He told WDRB the FBI took Jaynes into custody Thursday morning.

Jaynes’ was fired from LMPD for being “untruthful” in the search warrant application for Taylor’s home. He unsuccessfully appealed his termination twice.

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LMPD detective fired for lying on Breonna Taylor search warrant application loses second employment appeal

Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker — the civil rights and personal injury attorneys who represented Taylor’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city that resulted in a record settlement — said in a statement Thursday that the DOJ’s indictments set a precedent for accountability.

“There are still so many families who are fighting and praying for justice and accountability in situations where their loved ones were wrongfully killed by the police. We need to stand with them,” the statement read.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s statement shared similar sentiments about the two-year federal investigation.

“While we cannot reverse [Taylor’s] tragic death, we can and must continue to pursue justice for her,” Fischer said. “While I know some may feel that this process has taken too long, as I have said from the beginning there can be no shortcuts to due process, no shortcuts to justice.

Copyright 2022 WFPL News Louisville. To see more, visit WFPL News Louisville.

Breya Jones
Amina Elahi
Yasmine Jumaa