Nearly two and a half years after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was shot and killed during a brutal nighttime raid at her home in Louisville, Kentucky, four police officers involved have been charged by federal officials for their role in her death, with two indictments involving “civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracies and use of force and obstruction offenses.” While one of the four officers charged, Brett Hankison, had previously been tried at the state level for his involvement in the raid, he was eventually acquitted.
“The federal charges announced today allege that members of the place-based investigations unit falsified the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant of Ms. Taylor’s home, that this act violated federal civil rights laws, and that those violations resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland during a briefing at the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C., earlier today.
The indictments do not name the two officers who shot and killed Taylor—neither Jonathan Mattingly no Myles Cosgrove have faced charges—but the three officers involved in obtaining the search warrant. (Hankison, meanwhile, has been charged again for his reckless shooting, which endangered Taylor’s neighbors.) Prosecutors stated today that in order to obtain the warrant, the two detectives and police sergeant charged alongside Hankison falsely claimed that Taylor had been receiving packages at her home on behalf of her drug dealer ex-boyfriend.
“Today was a huge step toward justice,” said Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney who worked with Taylor’s family on their lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department, eventually helping them to secure a record $12 million settlement and guarantees of police reforms. “We are grateful for the diligence and dedication of the FBI and the DOJ as they investigated what led to Breonna’s murder and what transpired afterward,” he continued. “We hope this announcement of a guilty plea sends a message to all other involved officers that it is time to stop covering up and time to accept responsibility for their roles in causing the death of an innocent, beautiful young Black woman … Say her name. Breonna Taylor.”