Breonna Taylor’s Death Attracts Public Attention to False Warrants
By: Elaine Wang
In March 2020, at Louisville, Kentucky, Black woman Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police after being falsely accused of associating herself with drug dealers. The officers involved in the warrant have been charged accordingly.
“It happens far more often than people think. We are talking about a document that allows police to come into the homes of people, oftentimes minorities, at all times of night and day,” Joseph C. Patituce, former prosecutor and defense lawyer, stated.
Months later, when attorney general Daniel Cameron presented the charges against Hankinson, and stated that Mattingly and Cosgrove’s – two officers involved in the raid – actions were justified, he emphasized that police did properly knock and announce their presence at the apartment. However, around a dozen witnesses nearby claim to not have heard the police declare themselves.
“No officer has been charged with shooting Ms. Taylor, but on Thursday the Justice Department charged four current and former police officers with federal civil rights violations, including lying to obtain a search warrant for her apartment,” NY Times reporter Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs wrote.
Following countless other cases like this in 2020, Louisville officials banned the use of no-knock warrants, which allow the police to forcibly search a person’s home without announcing their presence, as well as fired several officers, including Detective Hankinson, who was accused of showing “an extreme indifference to the value of human life”.
The detective, Joshua Jaynes, said Ms. Walker’s former boyfriend had been sending packages to Ms. Walker’s apartment, and even found evidence when a postal inspector confirmed the shipments. Mr. Jaynes “outlined all this in an affidavit and asked a judge for a no-knock warrant so that officers could barge into Ms. Taylor’s home late at night before drug dealers had a chance to flush evidence or flee. The judge signed off on the warrant.”
This week, however, officers discovered the detective had lied. There were no drugs found at Ms. Walker’s house, and Mr. Jaynes had never confirmed anything with a postal inspector, the prosecutors stated. Furthermore, prosecutors said Mr. Jaynes met with another detective in his garage and devised a story to tell the F.B.I. to “cover up the false and misleading statements the police had made to justify the raid”, the NY Times reported.