4 LMPD officers charged by the FBI in Breonna Taylor case
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Four Louisville Metro Police Department officers have been charged by the FBI in relation to the case of Breonna Taylor, a medical worker who died during a police raid in March 2020, WAVE News Troubleshooters have confirmed.
Those charged include former LMPD officers Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison, and Kelly Hanna Goodlett. Current LMPD sergeant Kyle Meany was also arrested Thursday by the feds.
The charges are for alleged civil rights violations, which is a federal crime. The set of charges include obstruction for actions that allegedly happened after Taylor’s death.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland commented on the federal charges for the four former and current LMPD officers Thursday morning.
“We share but we cannot fully imagine the grief felt by Breonna Taylor’s loved ones and all of those affected by the events of March 13, 2020,” Garland said. “Breonna Taylor should be alive today.”
The U.S. Department of Justice said Jaynes and Goodlett are accused of being untruthful about verifying information on the warrant affidavit used to search Taylor’s home.
“We allege that in May 2020, those two defendants met in a garage where they agreed to tell investigators a false story,” Garland said. “This indictment separately alleges that Meany lied to the FBI during its investigation of this matter.”
“Louisville Police Detective Joshua Jaynes and Sgt. Kyle Meany drafted and approved what they knew was a false affidavit to support a search warrant for Miss Taylor’s home,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said. “That false affidavit set in motion events that led to Ms. Taylor’s death.”
On Friday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer spoke on the allegations of LMPD officers lying and attempting a cover up.
“First of all, that’s super disturbing, obviously,” Fischer said. “So I’m grateful that investigations go deep enough to find out if that’s an issue, and of course, that’s what led to the indictment yesterday. I mean, I can say it’s like in any large organizations, you’re going to have, unfortunately, a small group of people that are problematic or don’t tell the truth. I don’t think that represents at all the entire police force around the country and LMPD as well, but it’s important that when is there any dishonesty or any kind of corruption, that it’s called out and removed from the organization. And that’s what good cops want as well.”
The U.S. Department of Justice began their civil rights investigation into LMPD’s practices over a five-year time frame in April 2021.
“Our team has been on the ground conducting interviews with stakeholders, members of the police department, engaging in ride-alongs, reviewing documents and data,” Clarke said. “We will share more once that investigation has concluded.”
Jaynes was fired from the department in January 2021, but had never been criminally charged until now. Jaynes had appealed the decision but lost that argument before the department’s merit board.
In March 2022, Hankison was found not guilty of state charges of wanton endangerment. He was acquitted from endangering people’s lives while shooting several rounds into Taylor’s apartment. Those shots came after Sgt. Jon Mattingly was shot in his femoral artery by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, within seconds of officers breaching the front door of her apartment. Hankison was fired by LMPD in January 2021.
“Today’s indictment alleges that Hankinson’s use of excessive force violate the rights of Breonna Taylor and her guest, and also of her neighbors whose lives were endangered by bullets that penetrated into their apartment,” Clarke said.
Goodlett was part of LMPD’s Place Based Investigations, or PBI Unit. That is the unit which led the drug investigation into Jamarcus Glover, Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. Goodlett was also the partner of Jaynes. She was tasked with conducting much of the field work leading them to surveil Taylor. The target of the investigation was Glover and his so-called trap house on Elliott Avenue in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood. Goodlett had taken pictures of Glover picking up a USPS package at Taylor’s home. Goodlett had also gathered surveillance video outside of the home on Elliott Avenue showing Taylor getting into Glover’s car.
In a separate incident, Goodlett was also being investigated by the FBI in the case that later became known throughout LMPD as “Slushiegate.” WAVE News Troubleshooters broke the story after learning a number of officers were being investigated for throwing slushies at unsuspecting pedestrians while recording videos. Goodlett has not been charged in that case, but two other officers were later indicted for Civil Rights violations.
Meany has not been in the media or legal spotlight regarding the case. Meany was a sergeant within PBI and had so far not faced any charges. He was disciplined by LMPD for violating the policies surrounding the SWAT analysis of Taylor’s apartment.
The warrant on Taylor’s apartment was served on March 13, 2020, at 12:40 a.m. The warrant included pictures of her apartment, Glover leaving with a package, and information about Glover using Taylor’s apartment as his own.
Walker claims he did not know it was police at his door. Mattingly has never faced any charges in the case. Mattingly retired June 1st after being cleared by LMPD in the case.
The warrant for Taylor’s apartment was originally authorized by a Jefferson County judge as a no-knock warrant, documents show. The officers have testified that they later decided to serve the warrant as a “knock and announce” warrant. The officers have maintained they banged on Taylor’s door, identifying themselves as police for several minutes before using a ram to gain entry.
Prosecutors later released a picture of the whiteboard outlining the officer’s assignments for the night of the raids. The board shows Taylor’s apartment as a “knock and announce” location.
The moment the door was breached, Walker fired a single shot which struck Mattingly. Detective Myles Cosgrove, who was standing next to Mattingly, began firing several rounds, striking Taylor. Cosgrove was later fired from LMPD which felt he’d fired without establishing a target. Cosgrove is not facing any state or federal charges.
Taylor, 26, was shot six times. Walker was not hurt.
Her death sparked protests and riots through Louisville during the summer of 2020. Hundreds of LMPD officers have since left the department.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office began an investigation into the shooting death of Taylor, where the case was presented to a grand jury.
Cameron announced in Sept. 2020 no criminal charges would be filed directly for Taylor’s death. Hankison was the only officer charged after firing his weapon into a neighboring apartment. He was charged with one count of wanton endangerment.
On Thursday evening, Cameron released a statement on the federal indictments for the four LMPD officers:
“Today, President Biden’s Department of Justice brought federal civil rights charges against four individuals in connection with the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor. As in every prosecution, our office supports the impartial administration of justice, but it is important that people not conflate what happened today with the state law investigation undertaken by our office.
Our primary task was to investigate whether the officers who executed the search warrant were criminally responsible for Ms. Taylor’s death under state law. At the conclusion of our investigation, our prosecutors submitted the information to a state grand jury, which ultimately resulted in criminal charges being brought against Mr. Brett Hankison for wanton endangerment. I’m proud of the work of our investigators and prosecutors.
This case and the loss of Ms. Taylor’s life have generated national attention. People across the country have grieved and there isn’t a person I’ve spoken to across our 120 counties that isn’t saddened by her loss.
There are those, however, who want to use this moment to divide Kentuckians, misrepresent the facts of the state investigation, and broadly impugn the character of our law enforcement community.
I won’t participate in that sort of rancor. It’s not productive. Instead, I’ll continue to speak with the love and respect that is consistent with our values as Kentuckians.”
“Obviously, the Attorney General decided to focus on the areas that he decided to focus on,” Fischer said on Friday. “He could have gone much broader. And that of course, is what the federal folks did. And that’s what led to the indictments yesterday.”
“If the Attorney General broadened his investigation, and they found the same evidence that the feds did, it certainly could have happened at the state level,” Fischer added.
WAVE News Troubleshooters have reached out to LMPD and Taylor’s family for comment.
In a statement, Louisville Metro police said Chief Erika Shields has begun termination procedures of Meany and Goodlett.
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