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DOJ brings federal charges against 4 police officers over Breonna Taylor's death: 'Should be alive today'

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has charged four Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers involved in the controversial raid that killed Breonna Taylor.

What is the background?

Police officers fatally shot Taylor in March 2020 after they executed a warrant at the apartment she lived in with her boyfriend.

Police opened fire after Taylor's boyfriend fired a warning shot at police, which hit one of the officers. He fired because he thought the officers were intruders. Police claimed they announced their presence, a disputed fact. Taylor was shot multiple times, while her boyfriend was uninjured.

None of the officers were ever charged with Taylor's death. However, one of the officers, Brett Hankison, was later indicted by a grand jury on charges wanton endangerment for allegedly endangering Taylor's neighbors when he fired stray bullets into the adjacent homes. The bullets, though, did not injure anyone.

Hankison was acquitted of all charges in March.

What did the DOJ announce?

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced charges against LMPD sergeant Kyle Meany and detective Kelly Goodlett and former LMPD officers Joshua Jaynes and Hankison.

The DOJ alleges that Janyes and Meany falsified the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant for Taylor's apartment. Investigators also claim that Jaynes and Goodlett falsified investigative documents after Taylor's death, filing a false police report to cover up the false affidavit. Meany is also accused of lying to investigators.

Meanwhile, Hankison is accused of depriving both Taylor and her neighbors of their civil rights. The DOJ alleges he "willfully used unconstitutionally excessive force ... when he fired his service weapon into Taylor’s apartment through a covered window and covered glass door."

At a press conference, Garland accused the officers of depriving Taylor of her Fourth Amendment rights.

"Breonna Taylor should be alive today," Garland said.

After the DOJ announced the charges, LMPD Chief Erika Shields "began termination procedures" for Goodlett and Meany, the Washington Post reported. Hankison and Jaynes have already been fired.

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