WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US prosecutors on Thursday (Aug 4) charged four current and former Louisville, Kentucky, police officers for their roles in the botched 2020 raid that killed Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was in her home, in a case that sparked nationwide protests.
Three of the officers, Kyle Meany, Joshua Jaynes and Kelly Goodlett were charged with knowingly using false information to obtain the search warrant that authorised the search of Taylor's home that led to the botched raid that killed her.
A fourth officer, former detective Brett Hankinson, was charged with civil rights violations for allegedly using excessive force, US Attorney Merrick Garland said.
"Breonna Taylor should be alive today," Garland told a news conference.
The death of Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was one in a trio of cases that fuelled a summer of protests against racial injustice and police violence two years ago, in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Today was a huge step toward justice," lawyers for the Taylor family said in a statement following the news.
Louisville police were investigating alleged drug trafficking when they broke down the door of Taylor's home, leading her boyfriend, who was carrying a legally owned firearm, to shoot at the officers, who responded by firing 22 shots into the apartment, killing Taylor, prosecutors said.
Hankinson, prosecutors said, moved away from the door, firing 10 shots into Taylor's apartment through a window and glass door that were covered with blinds and curtains.
Prosecutors said that Jaynes and Goodlett met in a garage days after the shooting to agree on a false story to cover for the false evidence they had submitted to justify the botched raid.
The killing of Taylor, along with other high-profile 2020 killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, sparked nationwide protests.