Feds To Pursue Charges Against Breonna Taylor Officers
The federal government has chosen to pursue charges against four police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was a 26-year-old medical worker who was shot and killed by police with her boyfriend in an apparent drug raid. The charges include conspiracy, unlawful use of force, and obstruction of justice.
The officers were executing a no-knock warrant when Taylor’s boyfriend responded and fired a shot. Taylor was unarmed and in her bed when police officers shot her to death. Only one of the officers facing charges was actually there the day of the shooting. Three others are facing charges related to the ensuing cover-up and issues with the warrant executed on Taylor’s apartment. Two of the officers have since lost their jobs on the force while the state is moving to remove the other two.
The officer involved directly with the shooting, Brett Hankison, is accused of exiting the home and then firing numerous shots from outside. Some of the bullets went into a neighboring apartment. Two other officers are accused of falsifying a warrant that gave police probable cause to enter the residence without knocking first. They are accused of knowing that the information that led to the warrant was false, misleading, and out of date. One of the officers who lost their job is accused of falsifying information in the application for the warrant. The other two officers are accused of falsifying documentation related to the investigation of Taylor’s death. These two remain on the force.
Why are the feds going after these police officers?
Well, the state government couldn’t do much to charge the officers with anything. Hankison was indicted on charges of wanton endangerment but was acquitted. Now, the feds are going to step in, prepare a stronger case, pursue federal charges, and convene a federal jury. While similar issues will make such a prosecution difficult, the department is barely tolerating the presence of any of the remaining officers. Two of the four involved in the debacle have since been removed while the other two are now facing federal charges related to obstruction of justice, making false statements, and otherwise conspiring to cover-up matters related to the warrant and the execution of the warrant.
Sometimes, when the state government fails to convict high-profile suspects, the federal government will step in and file their own charges. While you may be inclined to think that this violates double jeopardy, it actually does not. Double jeopardy only applies within a jurisdiction. You cannot be charged with the same or a similar crime after being acquitted in the same jurisdiction. Double jeopardy doesn’t apply to federal prosecutions that were pursued after state prosecutions failed.
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