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Feds charge four Louisville police in killing of Breonna Taylor

The US Department of Justice has filed charges against four Louisville, Kentucky police officers, alleging the group violated the civil rights of Breonna Taylor when they executed a no-knock warrant at her apartment that resulted in her being shot and killed by police though she was unarmed, CBS News reports.

At the time, police claimed they were met with significant gunfire from inside the apartment when they burst in during the middle of the night.  However, subsequent investigations found that Taylor’s boyfriend fired one shot at the unannounced officers, striking one of them in the leg.  Another officer fired randomly into the apartment through a patio door.

Taylor, who was unarmed, was with her boyfriend when the officers burst into the apartment and was targeted by at least two of the officers’ gunfire, according to testimony.  Multiple shots from one of the officers struck her and killed her.  The items sought in the search warrant, reportedly drugs and evidence of drug dealing by an old boyfriend, were not found by police in the apartment.

The raid and the way it was executed caused outrage among civil rights advocates for a number of reasons, including the fact that the search warrant could have been enforced during the day while Taylor was at work, without the need for a violent, unannounced entry, leading to questions about the utilization of so-called no-knock warrants and whether they are needed as often as they are used.

Public outrage grew during a sloppy investigation:  allegations of corruption swirled when prosecutors presented little evidence of police carelessness and disregard for life, including the fact that they presented on witness to the grand jury who claimed he heard the police announce themselves, those more than two dozen other people who said the police did not were not called. Police initially charged Taylor’s boyfriend for shooting at police when they burst into the home, but those charges were later dropped.

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