WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland announced today that the Justice Department has charged four current and former Louisville Metro Police Department officers with federal crimes related to the death of Breonna Taylor.

Brandon Buskey, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Criminal Law Reform Project, said in response:

“The Department of Justice’s announcement of charges against four law enforcement officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death is a critical step in holding police accountable when they kill those they are sworn to protect, violate our constitutional rights, and inflict lasting trauma upon our communities. The charges announced today – lying to get a warrant, lying about Ms. Taylor’s connection to drugs (thereby invoking racist stereotypes), lying to federal investigators, and shooting, endangering, and killing people – are alarming in their own right. And they lay bare the urgent need to eradicate the racism and violence endemic in our policing systems. 

“But charges like these are not enough. We must commit to investing in reforms that truly make our communities safer. That means fully investing in measures that prevent crime, like mental health care, housing support, and education as well as ensuring accountability for law enforcement. Elected officials must be responsive to public demands for these reforms, and work with communities to reimagine public safety.”

Statement from Amber Duke, Interim Executive Director, ACLU of Kentucky

“Today, for the first time, Louisville police officers are being held directly accountable for Breonna Taylor’s murder. Breonna’s family members and the Louisville community have been pleading for justice for Breonna Taylor for years, and today these cries were finally heard.  

“These federal charges and arrests would not have happened without the determination of Breonna Taylor’s family, her legal team, and public protests in Kentucky and across the nation. The ACLU of Kentucky proudly represents Kentuckians who were tear gassed, knocked down, shot with pepper balls, and wrongfully arrested as they demanded justice for Breonna. Our federal lawsuit is still in court as we continue our fight to protect the right to protest and exercise free speech. We are re-invigorated by today’s announcement, finally seeing these officers held responsible for killing a young Black woman while illegally exercising their power under the law. 

“It should not have taken this long for Breonna Taylor’s murderers to face legal accountability. If not for the United States Department of Justice, accountability may have never come, following the failure of state and local officials to take action. 

“This is a first step toward justice for Breonna Taylor. She should still be alive today.”

 

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