Police raid Breona Taylor's apartment after 'gut': Plea

LWisville detectives went with their “gut” and falsified evidence to search Breona Taylor’s apartment when they couldn’t find evidence it was being used for drug trafficking, according to a plea agreement signed by one of the officers. charged by the US Department of Justice.

The affidavit from former Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Detective Kelly Goodlett, released on September 6, pulls back the curtain on the investigation that led to the botched no-knock operation where Taylor was killed in March 2020.

The Justice Department charged Goodlett with conspiracy for allegedly aiding and abetting the falsification of the search warrant affidavit that authorized the search.

Defense attorneys say these types of alleged violations — making false statements on documents such as affidavits and search warrants— is almost routine among some police officers. Such misconduct “is astonishingly common,” says Joe Margulies, a Cornell University criminal law professor and former federal defender. “These are random lies that have been purposefully inserted into an affidavit in support of an application for a warrant. They are practiced at it.

LMPD’s Local Bureau of Investigation (PBI) has been investigating Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamark Glover, for drug-related crimes, according to federal prosecutors. Goodlett and her then-partner, Detective Joshua Janes, saw Glover receive a package from Taylor’s home on Jan. 16, 2020, according to the affidavit.

Believing the package contained drugs or drug money, they scrambled to find evidence, Goodlett said in his affidavit. “Detectives, knowing they needed actual evidence, not just hunches, to get a warrant, tried to find evidence to support this gut belief,” plea agreement says. They were unable to find any evidence.

Janes asked another officer who had contacts in the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to check if Taylor had been receiving any suspicious packages, but the officer said there was “nothing,” according to the affidavit.

Goodlett says Janes made the decision to submit a false affidavit seeking a “no-knock” search warrant to Jefferson Circuit Judge Mary Shaw. The request included a false certification by a postal inspector that Glover was receiving packages delivered to Taylor, the federal filing said.

“Det. Jaynes was the primary drafter of the Springfield Drive warrant affidavit, but Det. Goodlett verified the facts of the affidavit and added certain information to it,” the plea agreement states.

Goodlett and Janes are accused of lying to obtain a search warrant for Taylor’s home. Former LMPD Sergeant Kyle Meaney, Goodlett’s chief at the time, and Janes are charged with violating Taylor’s civil rights, which carries a maximum of life in prison if convicted. Meaney is accused of lying to federal investigators.

Another former officer, Brett Hankinson, faces a separate federal charge of violating Taylor’s civil rights for allegedly using excessive force by firing 10 times into Taylor’s apartment, even though he did not fire the shot that killed Taylor.

Local media and experts doubt whether Goodlett will testify against his two former colleagues, which is highly unusual for cops to do – especially in high-profile cases.

Typically, officers tend to band together and support each other in the face of formal or criminal investigations, said Steve Cohen, a former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

“For so many reasons and for so many years, it has always been difficult to get the cooperation of a law enforcement officer,” says Cohen. “There is so much pressure on you as a law enforcement officer to stand by your brothers and sisters. The idea of ​​breaking this link, even to defend a broader principle, becomes very difficult.

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Write to Josiah Bates c [email protected].

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