Portland Activists Watching Breonna Taylor Case

Portland has been a hot spot for activism around the police issues. It’s a city the entire country witnessed go hard after the George Floyd incident. But Portland has a long history with dealing with racism and police killings. Kendra James and Jahar Perez are two such police murder cases that happened in Portland. The Breona Taylor case is showing the Feds charging the officers and stating that Breona did not have to die.

“We allege that the defendants knew their actions in falsifying the affidavit could create a dangerous situation, and we allege these unlawful acts resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

The Department of Justice announced federal charges against four Louisville cops for their connections to the March 2020 shooting death of Breonna Taylor. Special Prosecutor Cameron defended his office’s handling of the case and urged people “not (to) conflate what happened at the fed level with the state law investigation saying that his team’s “primary task was to investigate whether the officers who executed the search warrant were criminally responsible for Ms. Taylor’s death under state law.”

Still activists wanted to know why the Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the special prosecutor for the case, didn’t bring similar charges at the state level when he had the chance? Cameron’s office only brought charges against one ex-detective, Brett Hankison, for allegedly endangering Taylor’s neighbors. Hankison was acquitted on all counts by a jury in March 2022.

Breona Taylor is one of many deaths by police that has captured the attention of activists in Portland and around the country. The 26-year-old Black woman, was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department. The officers attempted to execute a search warrant at her apartment in the early morning hours of March 13, 2020. Police said they believed Taylor was holding drugs and cash for her ex-boyfriend, a convicted drug trafficker.

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he believed intruders were breaking in and fired one shot from his legally owned handgun after officers used a battering ram to force open the apartment’s front door. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was struck in the femoral artery and he required emergency surgery. In turn, Mattingly and detectives Myles Cosgrove and Hankison fired a total of 32 rounds. Six shots from Mattingly and Cosgrove struck Taylor, with the fatal shot coming from Cosgrove.

Two months after the shooting, a report from WDRB News in Louisville revealed that the warrant for Taylor’s apartment, which included a no-knock entry provision, secured by Detective Joshua Jaynes, falsely claimed a U.S. Postal Inspector verified she was receiving packages for her ex-boyfriend.

No one was charged for Taylor’s death.

The fed indictment said Jaynes and Meany both knew the warrant used to search Taylor’s home had information that was “false, misleading and out of date.” Both are charged with conspiracy and deprivation of rights.

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in announcing the charges, which include unlawful conspiracy, use of force and obstruction of justice. The charges named former officers Jaynes and Hankison, along with current officers Kelly Goodlett and Sgt. Kyle Meany. Louisville police said they are seeking to fire Goodlett and Meany.