Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ex-cop pleads guilty to falsifying warrant in deadly raid on Breonna Taylor's home


A former police detective in Louisville, Ky., pleaded guilty today in federal court in connection with the police raid that killed Breonna Taylor in March of 2020. Kelly Goodlett is now the only officer to plead guilty.

Roberto Roldan of member station WFPL has been following this case. Hi there.

ROBERTO ROLDAN, BYLINE: Hi. Thanks for having me.

SHAPIRO: Tell us about the plea agreement. What was Goodlett accused of doing?

ROLDAN: Yeah. So some details of the plea agreement are still sealed. What we do know is that Goodlett agreed to plead guilty to one count of felony conspiracy in exchange for the DOJ not pursuing additional charges against her based on the evidence that they currently have. Federal prosecutors have alleged that Goodlett and her partner, Detective Joshua Jaynes, knowingly provided false information in the search warrant application for Breonna Taylor's home. She and Jaynes wrote that Taylor's ex-boyfriend, who was the subject of a narcotics investigation, had been getting packages delivered to her home. They told a judge that the information had been verified by a U.S. postal inspector, but the DOJ says essentially that that was all a lie and that Goodlett and Jaynes met after Taylor's killing to concoct a cover story that they then told to federal investigators. So the felony conspiracy charge that Goodlett's facing carries a maximum sentence now of five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

SHAPIRO: OK. So these are not murder charges - conspiracy charges, rather. And three former officers are still facing other charges. What does the deal mean for them?

ROLDAN: Well, so that depends. I mean, federal prosecutors have not confirmed whether or not Goodlett is cooperating with them and is prepared to testify against some of the other officers that are involved. An attorney representing Breonna Taylor's family has said that she's cooperating, and I think the fact that Goodlett was the only - was only charged with one count kind of supports that.

So two of the other officers that were also involved in the search warrant application are facing four charges, including civil rights violations. So for her former partner, Joshua Jaynes, and for her former supervisor, Kyle Meany, I mean, the plea deal could be a bad sign for them - that Goodlett is willing to turn on them in court. The fourth officer, Brett Hankison, wasn't involved in the search warrant application. His charges stem, actually, from his actions during the raid itself.

SHAPIRO: People in Louisville have been pushing for some kind of justice for years. How are they reacting to this deal?

ROLDAN: So Tamika Palmer - Breonna Taylor's mom - was actually in the courtroom today. She didn't address the media at all, but I could see that she was shaking her head and wiping tears away as the judge went through each individual allegation against Goodlett and Goodlett admitted guilt. Palmer was also wearing a dark blue shirt that had say her name on the back of it, which was a nod to the chant that was often heard at racial justice protests in Louisville and elsewhere.

After the DOJ announced the federal charges against all four of the officers a couple weeks ago, Palmer said that she felt vindicated. She has always contended that there was some attempt to cover up what happened with her daughter and why the apartment was raided in the first place. But she told reporters that people called her crazy, and now the truth is out there.

SHAPIRO: That's Roberto Roldan of WFPL in Louisville. Thank you very much.

ROLDAN: Yeah, thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Roberto Roldan