A former Louisville detective pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to helping falsify a search warrant that led to the killing of Breonna Taylor, a black woman whose death fueled a wave of protests over police violence against people of color.
Kelly Goodlett, 35, entered her plea before U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings in a federal court in Louisville, Kentucky, the New York Times reported.
Goodlett was one of four former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department detectives charged by the U.S. Justice Department on August 4 for their involvement in the 2020 raid that killed Taylor in her home.
The charges represent the Justice Department’s latest attempt to crack down on abuses and racial disparities in policing, following a series of high-profile police killings of black Americans across the country.
The killing of Taylor, along with other 2020 killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, among others, sparked outrage and galvanized protests that peaked in intensity during that summer.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was asleep with her boyfriend on March 13, 2020, when police conducted a no-knock raid and 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 Taylor, killing her.
Kelly Goodlett, 35, pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to helping falsify a search warrant that led to the March 2020 killing of Breonna Taylor
Taylor was a black woman whose March 2020 death fueled a wave of protests over police violence against people of color
Goodlett and a fellow former officer, Joshua Jaynes, met days after the shooting in a garage where they agreed on a false story to cover for the false evidence they had submitted to justify the botched raid, prosecutors say.
Goodlett was charged with conspiring with another detective to falsify the warrant that led to the raid and then cover up the falsification.
Federal prosecutors also charged Jaynes and current Sergeant Kyle Meany with civil rights violations and obstruction of justice for using false information to obtain the search warrant.
A fourth officer, former Detective Brett Hankison, was charged with civil rights violations for allegedly using excessive force.
Sergeant Kyle Meany, 45, Detective Joshua Jaynes, 40, and former Detective Brett Hankison, 46, (pictured) have also been charged for their connection to Taylor’s March 2020 death
Officers Myles Cosgrove (left) and Brett Hankison were also fired from their roles in the police over the Taylor case. Joshua Jaynes, the lead investigator, had spoken to a fellow officer, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, (right) who had received the information from Shivley Police
Jaynes, 40, was sacked in January 2021 for adding a false statement to his sworn affidavit for the ‘no knock’ warrant to search Taylor’s (pictured) apartment
In March, a jury acquitted Hankison on a charge of wanton endangerment. A grand jury earlier cleared the other two white officers who shot Taylor but charged Hankison with endangering neighbors in the adjacent apartment.
A grand juror on the case later said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron only presented the wanton endangerment charges against Hankison to the grand jury.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron failed to charge Mattingly and Cosgrove with a crime last year, saying that both cops were justified in returning fire against Walker.
Breonna Taylor’s family and lawyers (pictured earlier this month) said that the charges were ‘ a huge step toward justice’ for her
The death of Breonna Taylor sparked a movement following her shooting by police officers. Her family praised the government for the charges brought
Both Cosgrove and Hankison were fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department for their actions during the raid.
Garland said the federal charges allege that the officers falsified information on the search warrant used to enter Taylor’s home.
He said that this violated her fourth amendment rights, which resulted in her death, with Jaynes and Goodlett ‘knowingly falsifying’ a document created after her death.
The charge claimed that the pair had allegedly met in a garage in May 2020 to discuss telling investigators a false story to ‘cover up their unlawful conduct.’
Sergeant Kyle Meaney reportedly ‘lied to the FBI’ during its investigation of Taylor’s death, and has also been charged.
Affidavits sworn by Jaynes and approved by Meany were used to obtain warrants to search five properties, including Taylor’s home.
The indictment claims that both Jaynes and Meany knew that the affidavit used to obtain the warrant was ‘false, misleading and out-of-date.’
It also states that both officers knew that the warrant would be carried out by armed LMPD officers, creating a ‘dangerous situation’ for officers and anyone at Taylor’s home.