Four police officers charged two years after the death of African-American Breonna Taylor

One of the officers is accused of "excessive use of force", the other three of having "falsified" the search warrant at the origin of the operation, said Minister Merrick Garland during a press conference .

Four police officers charged two years after the death of African-American Breonna Taylor

One of the officers is accused of "excessive use of force", the other three of having "falsified" the search warrant at the origin of the operation, said Minister Merrick Garland during a press conference .

"I've been waiting for this for 874 days," responded the young woman's mother, Tamika Palmer. "But it still hurts," she added in front of cameras, blaming local authorities for not "having done the right thing."

On March 13, 2020, three police officers in Louisville, Kentucky's largest city, broke into the home of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in the middle of the night as part of a drug trafficking investigation targeting her ex-boyfriend. friend.

His new companion, Kenneth Walker, believed they were burglars and fired a shot with a legally owned gun. The police responded and Breonna Taylor received around 20 bullets.

The agents were armed with a so-called "no knock" warrant, authorizing them to break down the door without warning. They claim to have announced themselves all the same, which Mr. Walker disputes.

The death of Breonna Taylor had not attracted much attention until the death of the African-American George Floyd, suffocated by a white police officer in May 2020. The name of the young woman had then been chanted in all the summer anti-racist protests.

- Blackout curtains -

Despite the anger, local prosecutors had in September 2020 charged only one police officer, not for the death of Breonna Taylor but for having "endangered" her neighbor by discharging his weapon through a partition. . Louisville was then ablaze.

The acquittal last March of this policeman, Brett Hankison, 46, had revived the feeling of injustice in anti-racist circles and among the black community of the city.

The federal justice finally decided to indict him for "excessive use of force". "He fired ten shots through a window and a French window covered with blackout curtains," justified the Minister of Justice.

Three of his former colleagues who did not participate in the raid, Joshua Jaynes, Kyle Meany and Kelly Goodlett, are accused of having lied about the search warrant at the origin of the tragedy.

“The defendants knew that the warrant contained false and misleading information, and that other (information) had been omitted,” explained Merrick Garland. They "knew it could create a dangerous situation and we submit that these unlawful acts resulted in the death of Miss Taylor", he added.

The warrant ensured that the police had verified that the former boyfriend of Breonna Taylor had received packages at the home of the latter. "Messrs. Jaynes and Goodlett knew that was not true," the minister said.

According to him, the agents had then "taken measures to cover up their misdeeds" and in particular lied to the FBI.

The announcement of these lawsuits was welcomed by those close to Breonna Taylor, who demanded the immediate dismissal of the agents still in post.

“This is a huge step towards justice,” commented the famous lawyer Ben Crump, who represents this family and many black victims of police violence. "It's time for the police officers involved to stop covering up and accept responsibility for the death of this young, innocent black woman," he added.

To appease the climate and put an end to a civil complaint, the town hall of Louisville had agreed to pay 12 million dollars to the family of Breonna Taylor and to initiate initial reforms of its police.

The practices of its law enforcement agencies are also still under investigation by the federal government.

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