US charges four Kentucky police officers in Breonna Taylor killing

ITV News' Ben Chapman has the latest on the developments surrounding the US police officers charged in relation to the fatal 2020 shooting of Breonna Taylor

Four current and former police officers have been charged for their roles in the 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, the US Justice Department has said.

The charges are another effort to hold law enforcement accountable for the killing of the 26-year-old Black medical worker after one of the officers was acquitted of state charges earlier this year.

Federal charges against former officers Joshua Jaynes, Brett Hankison and Kelly Goodlett, along with Sgt. Kyle Meany were announced by US Attorney Merrick Garland on Thursday. The charges range from unlawful conspiracies, use of force and obstruction of justice.

What happened to Breonna Taylor?

Ms Taylor was shot to death by Louisville officers who had knocked down her door while executing the search warrant. Ms Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot that hit one of the officers as they came through the door and they returned fire, striking Ms Taylor multiple times.

Her death - along with that of George Floyd in Minnesota - sparked anti-racism protests across the US and the globe.

Local activists and members of the Taylor family celebrated the charges and thanked federal officials.

Ms Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said she has waited nearly two-and-a-half years for police to be held accountable.

“Today’s overdue, but it still hurts,” she said. “You all [are] learning today that we’re not crazy.”

Benjamin Crump, lawyer for Ms Taylor's family and that of George Floyd, said: “This is a day when Black women saw equal justice in America.” When announcing the charges on Thursday, Mr Garland said federal officials “share but cannot fully imagine the grief” felt by Ms Taylor’s family.

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” he said.

With Ms Taylor's mother stood to his left, lawyer Benjamin Crump hails the charges

Hankison, who was dismissed from the department in 2020, was one of the officers at Ms Taylor’s door and one of three who fired shots that night. He was acquitted by a jury of state charges of wanton endangerment earlier this year in Louisville.

Jaynes had applied for the warrant to search Ms Taylor’s house. He was fired in January 2021 by former Louisville Police interim chief Yvette Gentry for violating department standards in the preparation of a search warrant execution and for being “untruthful” in the Ms Taylor warrant.

Jaynes and Goodlett allegedly conspired to falsify an investigative document that was written after Taylor’s death, Garland said. Federal investigators also allege Meany, who testified at Hankison’s trial earlier this year, lied to the FBI during its investigation. Garland alleged that Jaynes and Goodlett met in a garage in May 2020 “where they agreed to tell investigators a false story.”

In 2020, the Taylor family sued Louisville police and reached a $12 million settlement.

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