The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Thursday that a Kentucky federal grand jury has charged four current and former police officers with federal crimes in relation to the murder of Breonna Taylor. The grand jury charged Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany with deprivation of rights under color of law, conspiracy, falsification of records in a federal investigation, and false statements to federal investigators. They also charged Brett Hankison with two charges of deprivation of rights under color of law.
The indictment against Jaynes and Meany is in connection with the allegedly false warrant that was used to enter Breonna Taylor’s apartment. The indictment alleges that Jaynes and Meany knew that the warrant was not supported by probable cause. They allegedly knew that the affidavit to obtain the search warrant contained misleading facts and stale information. The indictment alleges that this led to Breonna Taylor’s death. Jaynes is being charged with conspiracy because he allegedly covered up the false affidavit when the case was under federal investigation. Kelly Goodlett was also charged with conspiracy for assisting Jaynes.
The indictment against Hankison has two civil rights-related charges. Hankison allegedly deprived Breonna Taylor of her constitutional rights by using excessive force when he entered her home. Hankison fired his weapon into her apartment through a covered window and glass door. He is also being charged with depriving Breonna Taylor’s neighbors of their constitutional rights. The charges allege that some of Hankison’s bullets traveled through Breonna Taylor’s walls and into her neighbors’ apartment. Both counts allege that Hankison was shooting with the intent to kill.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said “The Justice Department is committed to defending and protecting the civil rights of every person in this country. That was this Department’s founding purpose, and it remains our urgent mission.”
Hankison was acquitted of state-level wanton endangerment charges in March. The DOJ has been investigating the Louisville Metro Police Department’s practices since April 2021.