Updated Aug 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Louisville officer pleads guilty to conspiracy in Breonna Taylor killing

A photo of Breonna Taylor is included among photos of other women who have lost their lives as a result of violence during the second annual Defend Black Women March on July 30 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Leigh Vogel via Getty Images for Frontline Action Hub

Former Louisville Metro police officer Kelly Goodlett on Tuesday pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy related to the killing of Breonna Taylor, admitting that she helped falsify a search warrant and filed a false report after Taylor's death as part of a cover-up attempt.

Driving the news: It's the first conviction in a case that ignited protests across the country over police brutality and racial justice.

  • Goodlett faces up to five years in prison, a fine of $ 250,000 and a three-year term of supervised release.

Catch up quick: The DOJ said Louisville police officers broke into Taylor's home in a March 2020 raid with a falsified "no-knock" search warrant for a drug investigation.

  • The Kentucky attorney general said they knocked and announced their presence, but her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and some neighbors said they didn't hear anything of the sort. Walker has said he thought the officers were intruders.
  • Officers used a police battering ram to break down her door even though she was not the main suspect and shot Taylor at least eight times after Walker fired his gun.
  • Taylor was alive for at least 20 minutes after officers shot her and did not receive medical attention even though she showed signs of life, according to Walker and police dispatch logs.

Why it matters: In the announcement of Goodlett's guilty plea, the DOJ said Goodlett "admitted that all of the information in the warrant affidavit justifying a no-knock entry for Taylor’s home was false as it related to Taylor."

  • Goodlett was "not aware of any valid reason" to seek the no-knock warrant that led to Taylor's killing.

The big picture: The three other officers who face federal charges — Sgt. Kyle Meany, former detective Joshua Jaynes and former detective Brett Hankison — have pleaded not guilty.

  • Hankinson, who shot multiple rounds into Taylor's apartment, was acquitted of wanton endangerment in March. He was the only officer who faced state charges.
  • The DOJ has charged Hankinson with violating the civil rights of Taylor, Walker and their neighbors for firing multiple shots through a bedroom window and a sliding-glass door.
  • Jaynes and Meany are also accused of falsifying the search warrant affidavit that led to the raid.
  • Goodlett's testimony could prove crucial as prosecutors pursue cases against the other three. She resigned from the police force after the DOJ unveiled the charges in March.
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