In the years since the police killing of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old woman who was fatally shot after a raid on her Louisville, Kentucky, home, questions about the origin of the search warrant have dominated conversations. Now, the community is learning that it wasn’t how the warrant was carried out, but why it was issued in the first place.
Three new officers, Kelly Hanna Goodlett, Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany, have been charged with federal crimes in connection to the killing of Taylor, including unlawful conspiracies, obstruction offenses, use of excessive force and federal civil rights offenses, as the Department of Justice previously confirmed.
Although Goodlett, Meany and Jaynes were not present at the time of the raid, their alleged misconduct is being accused of initiating the events that eventually led to the fatal shooting.
Goodlett, Jaynes and Meany falsified information to get the warrant, alleging that Taylor was receiving illegal packages at the residence, despite allegedly knowing that information was false, The Washington Post reports. They are also being accused of covering up their activity along with the police department being connected to The Elliott Avenue Project, according to WLKY.
The Elliott Avenue Project is a development project. A document describing the project alleges that the neighborhood’s “social and urban fabric has deteriorated over recent decades due to high levels of disinvestment and crime.” It also states that the Department of Develop Louisville’s Office of Community Development, the city’s entity behind the project, in partnership with Keeping It Real, Inc., a local nonprofit partner, are intervening “in an effort to stabilize and reinvigorate this residential community within West Louisville.”
Since the start of the project, the city of Louisville has acquired and gained control of several properties in the area, including 2424 Elliott Ave., which was once the home of Taylor and her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover.
After Taylor’s death, the city was quick to secure Glover’s rented home and got quite the deal for it, too. According to Wave, the city bought the home for $1. The estimated home value was more than $17,000.
And the city’s pending acquisitions in the area skyrocketed after they secured Glover’s home. As of July 2020, just a few months after Tayler’s killing, the project document stated that they had “succeeded in gaining control of 26 properties, with an additional 11 pending acquisitions” in the area.
The attorneys for Taylor’s estate, suspecting foul play in the city’s actions, allege that the neighborhood’s gentrification may have been the reason Glover was targeted and Taylor was killed, the Courier-Journal reports.
The suit states that the LMPD created a special unit, the Place-Based Investigations unit (PBI), that focuses on “certain areas which needed to be cleared for real estate development projects to proceed,” according to WHAS11.
Sources also allege that the block on which Glover lived was an obstacle to the project’s efforts, and that LMPD’s Criminal Interdiction Division, which the PBI is under, went after the area to kickstart the development plan.
Though some city lawmakers say the project and PBI have the neighborhood’s best interest at heart, not every official agrees. Councilman Anthony Piagentini (R-19) is skeptical about their intentions and has expressed his concerns and questions.
“I’m struggling to figure out how this wasn’t anything but driven by development,” Piagentini said, WHAS11 reports. “Correct that picture that I just painted that seems to go from development to law enforcement action.”
Intertwined with the PBI unit are also Goodlett, Jaynes and Meany.
And when the three were hit with federal civil rights and obstruction offenses, Goodlett provided “pivotal” information about her and her colleagues’ roles in obtaining the search warrant that led to Taylor’s death, 89.3 WFPL reports.
Goodlett pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges, offering information about how she and her alleged co-conspirators obtained the warrant for Taylor’s home and covered their tracks.
According to Goodlett, she and Jaynes allegedly lied to get the search warrant on Glover’s home in March 2020, 89.3 WFPL reports. Jaynes falsely stated in the warrant application that Glover was also receiving packages at his ex-girlfriend Taylor’s address at Springfield Drive in south Louisville, according to investigators.
After Taylor was killed, Goodlett and Jaynes allegedly came up with a story to cover their tracks. She explained that they coordinated their tales via texts and calls as well as held a secret meeting in Jaynes’ garage.
“When Joshua Jaynes and Kelly Goodlett met in the garage on the evening of May 17, 2020, Joshua Jaynes relayed to Kelly Goodlett that they needed to get on the same page because they could both go down for putting false information in the Springfield Drive warrant affidavit,” Goodlett’s charging document states, according to 89.3 WFPL.
According to WDRB, the “false information” was the statement that Jaynes had verified with a U.S. postal inspector that Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment. Prosecutors say Goodlett knew this information was false but added a paragraph to a warrant affidavit “that she knew was misleading,” stating that detectives verified Taylor’s residence on Elliott Avenue was Glover’s current home, according to WFPL.
Back in 2020, Jaynes acknowledged the language in the affidavit was “incorrect,” but at the time he wrote it off as an “honest mistake,” WFPL reports.
According to Wave, Jaynes and Meany face up to life in prison. Goodlett, who was charged through information, not an indictment for conspiracy, faces up to five years. She’s set to appear in court on Friday, Aug. 12, according to WFPL.
The information Goodlett provided, as well as the charges against her, Jaynes and Meany, are a monumental step forward in the fight for Justice for Taylor.
“Today was a huge step toward justice,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents Taylor’s family, said in a statement, CNN reports. “We are grateful for the diligence and dedication of the FBI and the DOJ as they investigated what led to Breonna’s murder and what transpired afterwards. The justice that Breonna received today would not have been possible without the efforts of Attorney General Merrick Garland or Assistant AG for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke.”
He later stated that he and his team hopes “this announcement of a guilty plea sends a message to all other involved officers that it is time to stop covering up and time to accept responsibility for their roles in causing the death of an innocent, beautiful young Black woman.”