The Department of Justice has finally brought civil rights charges against four current and former Louisville police officers for their roles in the 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was killed in her sleep, CNN reports.
It marks the first federal counts leveled against any of the officers involved in the deadly raid.
In addition to civil rights offenses, federal authorities charged the four officers with unlawful conspiracies, unconstitutional use of force, and obstruction.
The police officers include detectives who worked on the search warrant and the ex-officer accused of firing blindly into her home. Federal investigators said the members of the Louisville unit called Place-Based Investigations “falsified” the affidavit used to obtain a search warrant, therefore violating Taylor’s civil rights.
In March 2020, Louisville police conducted what is known as a “no-knock warrant,” an extremely controversial warrant type in which law enforcement to enter a property without immediate prior notification.
After police entered Taylor’s home, her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a single shot from his handgun, as he believed intruders had entered the house. The indictment states that Louisville police then shot into the apartment more than 30 times. Taylor was hit six times.
No-knock warrants were first enacted during President Richard Nixon’s war on drugs, which, top Nixon aide John Ehrlichman later confirmed, was launched with the express purpose of terrorizing the anti-war left and Black people.
In Taylor’s case, the indictment says that two of the officers, Det Joshua Jaynes and Sgt Kyle Meany, knew the affidavit “contained false and misleading statements” that supposedly linked Taylor to alleged drug trafficking and “omitted material facts” that undermined the claims. It also “relied on stale information” and “was not supported by probable cause.”
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Talmer, said she has been waiting for 874 days for federal charges to be filed.