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US justice charges four agents with “excessive use of force” that killed Breonna Taylor

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Kenneth Walker stands next to a portrait of Breonna Taylor during a memorial service marking the second anniversary of her death March 13 in Louisville.JON CHERRY (REUTERS)

The Black Lives Matter movement achieved a new victory this Thursday. The Department of Justice today indicted four agents and former agents of the Louisville, Kentucky Metropolitan Police Department for violating the civil rights of Breonna Taylor, a young African American woman who died at her home in March 2020 during a police operation against the drug trafficking case of Breonna Taylor was partially obscured by the murder two months later of George Floyd, also an African American, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, sparking the largest wave of protests against police brutality and racism. But Taylor also became an icon of the movement denouncing systemic, structural racism in law enforcement that disproportionately affects African Americans and members of other minorities.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced that the four officers will be charged with “violating state civil rights statutes, [violaciones] which led to Taylor’s death.” Among the charges against them, the Attorney General pointed out, is lying to obtain the search warrant they used to break into an anti-drug operation at his home at night, where no narcotics were found became.

The indictments represent the Justice Department’s latest effort to take exemplary action against abuse and deep racial bias in the police force following a spate of controversial uniformed killings of black Americans. Blocked by the Republican opposition, President Joe Biden’s promised police reform, which in May in return announced a package of measures against the excessive use of law enforcement agencies, has fallen by the wayside.

Local justice had so far charged only one of the agents involved, not with the young woman’s death but with “endangering” neighbors by blindly firing his gun through the window and sliding glass door. “An excessive and unconstitutional use of force”. Police officer Brett Hankison was acquitted in March in what anti-racist activists saw as a breach of a duty to do justice.

The federal judiciary, meanwhile, has continued its own case that has resulted in formal charges of “excessive use of force” against the four workers, Garland said Thursday. The car also accuses them of lying to get the search warrant that led to the event. “The defendants knew that the order contained false and misleading information and omitted material information,” Garland said at a news conference in Washington. “[Los cuatro] They knew this could lead to a dangerous situation and we believe these illegal actions led to Taylor’s death.”

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Garland said. “The Department of Justice is committed to defending and protecting the civil rights of all people in this country. That was the founding purpose of this department and remains our urgent task.”

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Joshua Jaynes, Kelly Goodlett and Kyle Meany, the other agents involved in the raid, quickly took “measures to cover their wrongdoings,” including lying to the FBI. The three “applied for a search warrant at Taylor’s home, knowing that there was no ground for a search.”

The events took place on the night of March 13, 2020, when three Louisville Metropolitan Department police officers broke into the home of Breonna, a 26-year-old paramedic, as part of an investigation into drug trafficking linked to her ex. Friend, Jamarcus Glover. .

The young woman was inside with her partner Kenneth Walker, who, believing they were thieves, opened fire with a gun he lawfully owned. Officers responded with 22 shots, one of which, according to Garland’s report, “hit Breonna Taylor in the chest, killing her.” The agents obtained a search warrant authorizing them to break down the door without notice, although they affirm they were notified. Walker denies it.

Taylor’s death didn’t garner particular attention at the time, one of many interventions involving collateral victims – the vast majority African American – but the case resurfaced during the biggest spate of protests and racial unrest since the 1960s following the death of George Floyd, Am May 25 this year.

Louisville, the largest city in Kentucky, was lifted in September 2020, forcing authorities to impose a curfew after prosecutors gave up prosecuting the other police officers involved at the event and only formalized their charges against Hankison

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Source elpais.com

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