Federal Officials Charge Four Officers in Breonna Taylor Raid

More than two years after police officers killed Breonna Taylor during a late-night raid of her apartment in Louisville, Ky., the Justice Department announced a series of federal charges on Thursday against four of the officers involved in the operation that set off racial justice protests across the country.

Federal prosecutors accused three officers of knowingly including false information in an affidavit used to justify the raid and a fourth officer of firing blindly into Ms. Taylor’s apartment from outside, sending bullets flying into a unit next door where an unsuspecting family slept.

The indictments unsealed on Thursday do not charge either of the two white officers who shot Ms. Taylor, a Black 26-year-old emergency room technician whose former boyfriend the police were investigating for possibly selling drugs. 

But the charges are the most aggressive effort yet to hold police officers accountable in a case that has become a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The officer accused of firing into Ms. Taylor’s apartment, Brett Hankison, had been tried and acquitted on state charges of endangering her neighbors — the only officer to have faced charges until now.

None had been charged for what prosecutors say was the use of false information to obtain the search warrant that authorized officers to burst into Ms. Taylor’s home as she slept next to her new boyfriend.

The police used a battering ram to force their way through the door of the apartment shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020. Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, who feared they were intruders, fired a shot that struck one of the officers in the leg.

Three officers returned fire, spraying the apartment with more than 30 bullets, six of which struck Ms. Taylor. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference announcing the charges. He said that the officers’ false statements on the search warrant affidavit had set in motion the events that led to Ms. Taylor’s death.

The Justice Department has been investigating the Louisville Police Department for more than a year, reviewing complaints of the regular use of unreasonable force and whether police officers who break the department’s rules are held accountable.