Current and Former Louisville, Kentucky Police Officers Charged with Federal Crimes Related to Death of Breonna Taylor
Charges Include Federal Civil Rights Offenses, Unlawful Conspiracies, Obstruction Offenses, and Use of Excessive Force
The U.S. Justice Department reports
A federal grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, returned two indictments that were unsealed today, and the Department of Justice filed a third charging document today, in connection with an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman who was shot and killed in her Louisville home on March 13, 2020, by police officers executing a search warrant.
“The Justice Department has charged four current and former Louisville Metro Police Department officers with federal crimes related to Breonna Taylor’s death,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Among other things, the federal charges announced today allege that members of LMPD’s 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. Breonna Taylor should be alive today. The Justice Department is committed to defending and protecting the civil rights of every person in this country. That was this Department’s founding purpose, and it remains our urgent mission.”
The charges announced today are separate from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division’s pattern or practice investigation into Louisville Metro Government and the Louisville Metro Police Department, which Attorney General Garland announced on April 26, 2021. The charges announced today are criminal against individual officers, while the ongoing pattern or practice investigation is a civil investigation that is examining allegations of systemic violations of the Constitution and federal law by LMPD and Louisville Metro. The civil pattern or practice investigation is being handled independently from the criminal case by a different team of career staff.
The charges announced today are also separate from the charges previously filed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky against Hankison related to the shooting at Taylor’s home. The federal charges allege violations of the U.S. Constitution, rather than of state law. The federal charges also allege excessive use of force with respect to Taylor and a person staying in her apartment; violations not included in the Commonwealth’s case.
These federal cases were investigated by the FBI Louisville Field Office. Trial Attorneys Michael J. Songer and Anna Gotfryd of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the cases with Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Dembo of the Eastern District of Kentucky.
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