LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Four Louisville police officers involved in the deadly raid at Breonna Taylor’s home were charged Thursday with civil-rights violations, the Justice Department announced, including a former detective who was fired for lying on the search warrant that led to her death. 

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced federal charges against former officers Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison, Kelly Goodlett and Sgt. Kyle Meany. 

Garland said federal officials “share but cannot fully imagine the grief” felt by Taylor’s family.

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Garland said.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was shot to death by Louisville officers who knocked down her door while executing the search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Taylor six times. Officers fired 32 rounds in total. Her death became a rallying cry for protesters around the country during 2020 demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism.

Civil-rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented Taylor’s family through a historic $12 million settlement, said it was “a great day” after Thursday’s announcement and, in a statement with other attorneys who represented the family, called it a “huge step toward justice.”

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Detective who lied on search warrant among those charged 

Hankison, who was dismissed from the department in 2020, was one of the officers at Taylor’s door and one of three who fired shots that night. 

Hankison faces two civil-rights charges alleging he used “unconstitutionally excessive force during the raid on Ms. Taylor’s home” for firing 10 shots that went into an occupied, neighboring apartment “without a lawful objective justifying the use of deadly force,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Civil Rights Division announced during a Thursday morning news conference alongside Garland in Washington.

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Bullets flew into a neighbor’s apartment, nearly striking one man. Garland said the officers at Taylor’s home “were not involved in the drafting of the warrant, and were unaware of the false and misleading statements.” Hankison was the only officer charged Thursday who was on the scene that night.

Both counts against Hankison allege that he used a dangerous weapon and that his conduct involved an attempt to kill, according to the Justice Department. Earlier this year, a jury found Hankison not guilty on state charges related to the shooting. He was the only officer charged in the case at the state level.

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