Published11 hours ago
A former US police officer has pleaded guilty to helping falsify part of a search warrant that led to the fatal shooting of a black hospital worker, Breonna Taylor.
Ms Taylor, 26, was killed in her home in Louisville, Kentucky, on 13 March 2020 by plainclothes officers who were executing a “no-knock” search warrant.
Her death sparked months of racial justice protests around the country.
Former detective Kelly Hanna Goodlett’s conviction is the first in the case.
In a federal court in Louisville on Tuesday, the 35-year-old officer pleaded guilty to helping falsify an affidavit for the search of Ms Taylor’s home.
According to charging documents, Goodlett conspired with another officer to falsely claim a postal inspector had verified Ms Taylor was receiving packages at her address for her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, a convicted drug dealer – thus providing a justification for the search.
Fired from the police department on Friday, Goodlett now faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 (£212,000) fine.
Ms Taylor, an emergency medical technician, was asleep with her boyfriend when police burst into her apartment. Taylor’s boyfriend fired once at what he said he believed were intruders.
Three police officers responded with 32 shots, six of which struck Ms Taylor, killing her in the hallway.
The ex-officer is now expected to testify for the government against three former colleagues who are charged in connection with Ms Taylor’s death.
The men – Brett Hankison, Kyle Meany and Joshua Jaynes – were indicted earlier this month on more serious civil rights charges than Goodlett, and face life in prison if convicted.
Reacting to news of the plea earlier this month, Ben Crump, an attorney for the Taylor family, wrote on Twitter: “The truth prevails!”
On Tuesday, Bernice King, the youngest child of civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr, expressed disappointment that it took the US Justice Department to file civil rights charges to secure a conviction in the case.
“Local and state law enforcement were extremely callous with Breonna Taylor’s life and with ensuring accountability for her death,” she wrote on Twitter.
Only one former detective – Mr Hankison – had been previously charged over the case.
Mr Hankison was present during the raid and fired 10 bullets, some of which entered the neighbours’ home. He was charged with wanton endangerment but a jury acquitted him earlier this year.
In September 2020, officials in Louisville agreed to pay $12m to the Taylor family in a wrongful death settlement.
The settlement includes a series of police reforms in the city, including a requirement that all search warrants be approved by a senior officer.