Only one policeman had been prosecuted by the local justice, before being acquitted. The American Minister of Justice announced, Thursday, August 4, federal prosecution against four police officers involved in the death of the African-American Breonna Taylor, shot dead in her apartment in Louisville (Kentucky) in 2020 and become an icon of the Black movement Lives Matter.
Local justice had prosecuted only one of the agents involved in the tragedy, not for the death of the young woman but for having « miss a danger » his neighbor by discharging his weapon through a partition. The latter’s acquittal in March was seen as a denial of justice by anti-racist activists.
Federal justice, which conducted its investigation in parallel, finally decided to prosecute him “for excessive use of force”, announced the attorney general, Merrick Garland, during a press conference. She also charged three of her former colleagues with lying about the search warrant that sparked the tragedy. “The defendants knew that the warrant contained false and misleading information and that others had been omitted”explained Mr. Garland during a press conference.
Ils “knew that this could create a dangerous situation and we submit that these unlawful acts resulted in the death of Mle Taylor », he added. The three agents, who had not taken part in the raid, had then “took steps to cover up their misdeeds” including lying to federal FBI agents, according to Mr. Garland.
Breonna Taylor received around 20 bullets
On March 13, 2020, three Louisville police officers broke into the home of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old caregiver, in the middle of the night as part of a drug trafficking investigation targeting her former boyfriend. His new companion, Kenneth Walker, believed they were burglars and fired a shot with a legally owned gun. The police responded and Breonna Taylor received around 20 bullets.
The agents had a so-called “no knock” warrant, authorizing them to break down the door without warning. They claim to have announced themselves all the same, which Mr. Walker disputes. The death of Breonna Taylor did not attract much attention at first, but she returned to the front of the stage a few months later as part of the large anti-racism demonstrations which shook the United States after the death of George Floyd, a black 40-year-old suffocated by a white police officer in Minneapolis, May 25, 2020.
To put an end to a civil complaint, the town hall of Louisville agreed to pay 12 million dollars to the family of Breonna Taylor and to initiate initial reforms of its police force. Its law enforcement agencies are also the subject of a federal government investigation into their practices.