Officer in Breonna Taylor case pleads guilty

Breonna Taylor was killed in her apartment in 2020.
Photo special to the Outlook

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior
National Correspondent

Kelly Goodlett, one of the former Louisville police officers charged with falsifying a search warrant that led to Breonna Taylor’s killing, has pleaded guilty.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Goodlett with conspiring with former Detective Joshua Jaynes to falsify the search warrant for Taylor’s home and to cover up their actions afterward.

Also charged are current Louisiana Police Department Sergeant Kyle Meany, and former detective Brett Hankison.

Goodlett faces up to 5 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland charged Jaynes and Meany with federal civil rights and obstruction offenses, alleging they prepared and approved a false search warrant affidavit that led to Taylor’s shooting death.

The indictment against Hankison charges that the former detective with civil rights offenses for firing his weapon into Taylor’s apartment through a covered window and glass door.

The indictment alleges that Jaynes and Meany knew that the affidavit contained false and misleading statements, omitted material facts, relied on stale information, and was not supported by probable cause.

Jaynes and Meany knew that the execution of the search warrant would be carried out by armed LMPD officers and could create a dangerous situation both for those officers and for anyone who happened to be in Taylor’s home, the indictment noted.

The officers tasked with executing the warrant were not involved in drafting the warrant affidavit and were not aware that it was false, the DOJ said.

Jaynes also face charges of conspiracy for agreeing with another detective to cover up the false warrant affidavit after Taylor’s death by drafting a false investigative letter and making false statements to criminal investigators.

The DOJ also leveled a charge of falsifying a report with the intent to impede a criminal investigation into Taylor’s death against Jaynes.

Another charge included allegations that Meany made a false statement to federal investigators.

The DOJ said Hankison willfully used unconstitutionally excessive force, while acting in his official capacity as an officer, when he fired his service weapon into Taylor’s apartment through a covered window and covered glass door.

“We believe the officers violated federal civil rights laws, and that those violations resulted in Taylor’s death,” Garland stated.

Added Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, “On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor should have awakened in her home as usual, but tragically she did not. Since the founding of our nation, the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution has guaranteed that all people have a right to be secure in their homes, free from false warrants, unreasonable searches, and the use of unjustifiable and excessive force by the police.” 

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