'Her life continues to matter': Internet celebrates as 4 cops charged over Breonna Taylor's death
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: Four US police officers were charged over the shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 13, 2020, by plainclothes cops executing a "no-knock" search warrant. Federal investigators said that three of the four officers conspired to falsify the arrest warrant that led to Taylor's killing. The charges against defendants Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany, Brett Hankison, and Kelly Goodlett include civil rights violations, conspiracy, use of excessive force offenses, and obstruction.
On March 13, 2020, Taylor died in the early hours after police raided the home she shared with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker in Louisville. Authorities claimed that the midnight search was part of a drug investigation, but a lawsuit filed by the family states there was no drug found at the house. The family lawyers said that the main suspect, Jamarcus Glover, was already in police custody at the time of the raid.
Charging documents said that three of the officers, Jaynes, Meany, and Goodlett, lied in an attempt to obtain a warrant they used to search Taylor's apartment. This act violated federal civil rights laws and led to Taylor's death, Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a news conference. "We allege that the defendants knew their actions in falsifying the affidavit could create a dangerous situation, and we allege these unlawful acts resulted in Ms Taylor's death," Garland said.
Garland said that the three officers also took steps to cover up their "unlawful conduct" and "conspired to mislead federal, state and local authorities who were investigating the incident." Jaynes is a former Louisville Metro Police Department detective, Meany is a current LMPD sergeant, and Goodlett is a current LMPD detective. The officers who carried out the search warrant "were not involved in the drafting of the warrant and were unaware of the false and misleading statements it contained," Garland added.
Former Louisville police officer Hankison, in a separate indictment, faces civil rights charges. He is accused of using excessive by for firing 10 additional shots into Taylor's apartment. Hankinson was fired in 2020 for his actions. He was found not guilty on state charges of wanton endangerment by a jury in early 2022.
Hankison was found not guilty on March 3, 2022. He was accused of endangering the lives of Taylor and her neighbors when he fired his gun during the raid. Hankinson reportedly did not fire the fatal shot. The jury found Hankinson not guilty on all three counts of wanton endangerment. Hankison had been charged for firing through sliding-glass side doors and a window of Taylor's apartment.
Stewart Mathews, his attorney, maintained that Hankinson responded “as he was taught to do” when he fired 10 shots near the door and window. While he admitted to firing through Taylor's patio doors and bedroom window, he said that he did so to save his fellow officers. Asked if he did anything wrong that night, he said, “Absolutely not.” Hankison was fired by Louisville Police for shooting blindly during the raid.
In 2020, police confirmed that they were investigating sexual assault allegations leveled against Hankinson. Margo Borders reportedly said that Hankison had sexually assaulted her in April 2018 while she was unconscious after driving her home following a night out and that the incident had traumatized her.
Emily Terry shared a similar story, claiming that Hankison assaulted her in 2019 after he spotted her walking home alone. Hankison was also the accused in a civil lawsuit in federal court that accused him of unrelated unnecessary arrests and harassment of one Kendrick Wilson.
Taylor, who worked for two local hospitals, was killed after police fired at least 20 rounds into the home. No police bodycam footage of that night is available. Taylor and Walker were reportedly sleeping when police raided their home. Walker, who has a license to carry, fired his gun thinking they were being robbed. LMPD Sgt Jonathan Mattingly and officers Hankison and Myles Cosgrove entered their apartment shortly before 1 am without announcing themselves. Walker faced charges of first-degree assault and attempted murder of a police officer after Mattingly was hit during the raid.
After her death, demonstrations to commemorate the first death anniversary of Breonna Taylor turned violent as protesters clashed with cops and members of the public at marches across the country. Protesters in large numbers took to the streets in Los Angeles, California, seeking justice.
'These charges are the beginning of accountability'
Social media is content with the charges against the officers and said that it assures the world that Taylor's life continues to matter. "In this moment, I'm thinking of #BreonnaTaylor's mother, Tamika Palmer. Her daughter should be alive. These charges are a firm reiteration that Breonna's life continues to matter and that police cannot be allowed to violate with impunity," one user wrote on Twitter.
"Accountability is long overdue. Breonna's life mattered and we will never stop saying her name," another wrote. One user said, "I consider myself an advocate for many different causes & cases. Sometimes doubt enters my mind when things take a while to develop. Patience is something I’m continuously working on an I’m glad that #BreonnaTaylor name has not been forgotten. FBI charges against the cops finally."
I consider myself an advocate for many different causes & cases. Sometimes doubt enters my mind when things take a while to develop. Patience is something I’m continuously working on an I’m glad that #BreonnaTaylor name has not been forgotten. FBI charges against the cops finally pic.twitter.com/vF83RVG4NP— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) August 4, 2022
"Someone needs to be held accountable for the murder of #BreonnaTaylor These charges are the beginning of accountability. Arrest. Charge. Prosecute," one user said, while another wrote, "Such good news that Breonna Taylor’s family may finally see accountability for her killing. The amazing Amanda Gorman’s words ring true today."
"I am so glad that the DOJ is bringing FEDERAL CHARGES against the officers that killed #BreonnaTaylor in their NO KNOCK WARRANT! We need #Police accountability in America and this brings us one step closer!" one user wrote.
I am so glad that the DOJ is bringing FEDERAL CHARGES against the officers that killed #BreonnaTaylor in their NO KNOCK WARRANT! We need #Police accountability in America and this brings us one step closer!— Avery Thornton (@AveryforAZ) August 5, 2022
In this moment, I'm thinking of #BreonnaTaylor's mother, Tamika Palmer. Her daughter should be alive. These charges are a firm reiteration that Breonna's life continues to matter and that police cannot be allowed to violate with impunity. #SayHerNamehttps://t.co/bibY9ofiK9— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 4, 2022
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