A former Louisville, Kentucky, police detective pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday to one count of felony conspiracy for falsifying information on the search warrant application that was used by police officers to illegally raid the apartment of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020.
Taylor was shot to death in a hail of 32 police bullets fired into her apartment after the officers executed a no-knock warrant and broke her door down. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot at the group and struck one of the officers, thinking they were intruders.
Former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) Detective Kelly Goodlett, 35, admitted before Kentucky District Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings that she conspired with fellow officer Joshua Jaynes to violate Taylor’s civil rights.
The two LMPD officers lied on an affidavit submitted to a judge for authorization to search the apartment that they had verified with a US Postal Inspector that Taylor’s former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was having packages delivered there.
Goodlett admitted that she knew there was no evidence to support the warrant but did not object when Jaynes wrote that police confirmed Glover, who was a suspect in a drug investigation, was using the address of his former girlfriend “as his current home address.”
Also, Goodlett admitted that she and Jaynes conspired to concoct a phony narrative they gave to investigators about the warrant application two months after Breonna Taylor was murdered. The two exchanged text messages and phone calls and had a secret meeting in Jaynes’s garage to cover up their violation of Taylor’s rights when it became clear that public demands for an investigation into her death would expose their criminal role in what happened.
In a press statement, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) wrote that the false warrant affidavit requested permission for officers to make a no-knock entry into Taylor’s apartment because drug dealers had a history of fleeing LMPD investigations and destroying evidence.
The DoJ statement also said, “Goodlett admitted knowing that the warrant for Taylor’s home would be executed at night by officers with their weapons drawn, creating a risk that a person in the home could be injured or killed.”
On the question of the cover up, the DoJ said that, during their garage meeting, Jaynes told Goodlett that they “needed to get on the same page because if he went down for the false warrant, she would go down too” and “after the garage meeting, Goodlett falsely claimed to criminal investigators that, in January 2020, an LMPD sergeant had told her and the other detective ‘in passing’ that he had verified that J.G. [Jamarcus Glover] was receiving packages at Taylor’s home.”
Goodlett is the first representative of the LMPD to be convicted in the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old African American emergency room technician, nearly 30 months after she was brutally killed. The felony conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Goodlett is scheduled for sentencing on November 21, but this is expected to be pushed back.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, sat in the gallery during the proceeding and shed tears as Goodlett acknowledged her guilt to each of the allegations against her were read aloud by the judge.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented the Taylor family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, said that Goodlett is cooperating with the federal investigators and her testimony has been “pivotal.”
Crump said earlier this month, “It’s really a ‘Serpico’ moment, when you have an officer who finally starts telling on everybody and how they conspired together to cover up the murder of this innocent Black woman.” Crump’s reference is to Frank Serpico, a former Brooklyn police officer and whistleblower who exposed rampant corruption in the New York Police Department in the 1970s, which almost cost him his life.
The difference in this case, however, is that Goodlett is no whistleblower. She pleaded guilty to being part of the conspiracy and is testifying against the three other officers charged with federal crimes in connection with Breonna Taylor’s death to obtain a lesser punishment.
On August 4, detectives Goodlett, Jaynes, Brett Hankison and LMPD Sergeant Kyle Meany, all of whom are white, were all indicted by the DoJ and arrested on a combination of civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracies, obstruction offenses and use of excessive force for their roles in the shooting of Taylor. Goodlett and Meany were active members of the LMPD at the time while Jaynes and Hankison had already been fired by the department.
Hankison had been previously charged by the state of Kentucky for wanton endangerment for which he was acquitted at trial. The officer who fatally shot Taylor, Myles Cosgrove, has been excluded from any of the prosecutions, either state or federal.
The DoJ and the corporate media are presenting the belated prosecution of some of those who are responsible for Breonna Taylor’s death as the application of justice against several rogue cops. However, the reality is that the actions of the LMPD officers before, during and after the shooting are part of a pattern of police behavior that regularly brutalizes and abuses the rights of poor and working-class people across the country every day.
If Goodlett, Jaynes, Hankison and Meany conspired to falsify their search warrant affidavit, obstructed the federal investigation and lied about what they had done in the case of Breonna Taylor, one is left asking the question: how many others have had their doors illegally knocked down in the middle of the night and been beaten up or shot by police without anyone ever knowing about it?
This is not to mention the fact that the officers who conducted the raid submitted a police incident report that said Taylor had no injuries and that no force was used to enter the apartment. If these officers had their way, no one in the world would have ever heard of the young emergency room technician and her murder would have disappeared in police paperwork like so many other cases.
The only reason the DoJ became involved in the case in the first place is because Taylor’s family and friends demanded justice for the young woman, especially after the travesty of justice carried out by the state of Kentucky. At the same time, a mass protest movement triggered by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis erupted across the US and around the world demanding an end to police violence and murder in which Taylor’s name was continuously mentioned.
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