Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday that the officers were being charged with civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction
The deaths of Taylor and George Floyd, murdered in 2020, became the focus of a wave of mass protests in the United States and beyond against racial injustice and police brutality. Protesters march through downtown Louisville after a grand jury decided not to bring homicide charges against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, in Louisville, Kentucky September 25, 2020. (Reuters) The US Justice Department has announced that it was charging four police officers over the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman killed in a botched 2020 raid on her home in Louisville, Kentucky.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday that the officers were being charged with civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction.
Garland said three of the officers — Joshua Jaynes, Kelly Goodlett and Kyle Meany — were charged with falsification of a search warrant in a suspected drug trafficking case.
They are accused of violating Taylor's rights by seeking a warrant to search her home when they knew they lacked probable cause for such a search.
The fourth officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with using excessive force by opening fire wildly during the raid which left Taylor dead.
The deaths of Taylor and George Floyd, who was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020, became the focus of a wave of mass protests in the United States and beyond against racial injustice and police brutality.
READ MORE: Louisville protests continue over Breonna Taylor's killing despite curfew
Taylor’s front door was breached by Louisville officers as part of a drug raid in the early morning hours of March 13, 2020.
Her boyfriend fired his gun once, saying later that he feared an intruder was entering the apartment.
One officer was struck, and he and two other officers fired 32 shots into the apartment, striking Taylor five times.
Police had a no-knock warrant but said they knocked and announced their presence before entering Taylor’s apartment, a claim some witnesses have disputed.
No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.
According to a study by Harvard University researchers, Black people are three times more likely to be killed by the US police than their white counterparts.
Another finding suggests that Black people are five times more likely to be sent to prison when compared to members of the white community, and represent 33 percent of the US prison population even as they account for only 12 percent of the total US population.
Many human rights campaigners in the US have argued that its justice system unduly criminalises Black people.
READ MORE: US opens police-bias probe into Breonna Taylor's killing
Source: TRTWorld and agencies