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Four US white officers charged over Breonna Taylor death

Breonna Taylor, 26, was a decorated emergency medical technician

The US Justice Department charged four white police officers on Thursday over the death of Breonna Taylor, a young Black woman, who was shot six times and killed by the officers in a raid two years ago on her home in Louisville, Kentucky.

The 26-year-old emergency medical technician and an aspiring nurse was killed in her Louisville home during a botched drug raid on March 13, 2020.

Officers broke down her door and opened fire, shooting 32 rounds after Taylor’s friend shot at them once, saying later he had thought they were intruders.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday the four officers were being charged with civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force and obstruction, AFP reported.

"We allege that these offenses resulted in Miss Taylor's death," Garland said.

The incident, along with the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, sparked mass protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the United States in the 2020 summer.

No homicide charges were brought against the three officers -- Joshua Jaynes, Kelly Goodlett and Kyle Meany -- involved in her death. Only officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting into a neighbor’s apartment.

Garland said on Thursday the three officers have been charged with falsifying a search warrant in a suspected drug trafficking case.

The officers are accused of violating the victim’s rights by seeking a warrant to search her home when they lacked probable cause.

"We allege that the defendants knew that the affidavit in support of that warrant contained false and misleading information and that it omitted material information," Garland said.

He added that the officers also allegedly "took steps to cover up their unlawful conduct after Miss Taylor was killed."

The fourth police officer, Hankison, was charged with using brutal force during the raid which left Taylor dead.

In March, Hankison had been found not guilty of state charges of "wanton endangerment" for his actions during the raid on Taylor's home.

The Kentucky jury acquitted Hankison of endangering neighbors of Taylor, clearing law enforcement of all criminal liability.

His stray bullets hit a neighboring apartment in the city of Louisville during the execution of a "no knock" search warrant after midnight.

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