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Breonna Taylor Raid Puts Focus on Officers Who Lie for Search Warrants

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On the day before police officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her apartment in Louisville, Ky., a detective tried to persuade a judge that a former boyfriend of Ms. Taylor’s could be using her home to stash money and drugs.

The detective, Joshua Jaynes, said the former boyfriend had been having packages sent to Ms. Taylor’s apartment, and he even claimed to have proof: a postal inspector who had confirmed the shipments. Mr. Jaynes outlined all this in an affidavit and asked a judge for a no-knock warrant so that officers could barge into Ms. Taylor’s home late at night before drug dealers had a chance to flush evidence or flee. The judge signed off on the warrant.

But this week, federal prosecutors said Detective Jaynes had lied. It was never clear whether the former boyfriend was receiving packages at Ms. Taylor’s home. And Mr. Jaynes, the prosecutors said, had never confirmed as much with any postal inspector. As outrage over Ms. Taylor’s death grew, prosecutors said in new criminal charges filed in federal court, Mr. Jaynes met with another detective in his garage and agreed on a story to tell the F.B.I. and their own colleagues to cover up the false and misleading statements the police had made to justify the raid.

Amid protests over Ms. Taylor’s killing, much of the attention has focused on whether the two officers who shot her would be charged. But the Justice Department turned most of its attention on the officers who obtained the search warrant, highlighting the problems that can occur when searches are authorized by judges based on facts the police may have exaggerated or even concocted.

“It happens far more often than people think,” said Joseph C. Patituce, a defense lawyer and former prosecutor in Ohio. “We are talking about a document that allows police to come into the homes of people, oftentimes minorities, at all times of night and day.”

Ms. Taylor is far from the first person to die in a law enforcement operation authorized on what prosecutors said were police misstatements.

In Houston, prosecutors accused a police officer of falsely claiming that an informant had purchased heroin from a home in order to obtain a search warrant in 2019; officers killed two people who lived there during a shootout when they tried to execute the warrant, and only after that did the police chief at the time, Art Acevedo, say there were “material untruths or lies” in an affidavit for the warrant that led to the raid. The officer pleaded not guilty and the case is still pending.

In Atlanta, police officers barged into a home and fatally shot a 92-year-old woman, Kathryn Johnston, in 2006 after an officer lied in a search warrant affidavit about an informant buying drugs from her home.

And in Baltimore, a federal judge sentenced a detective to two and a half years in prison last month after prosecutors said he had lied in a search warrant affidavit about finding drugs in a man’s truck in order to justify a search of the man’s motel room.

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Judges often rely solely on the sworn narrative of police officers who apply for warrants, meaning the police can carry out potentially dangerous searches targeting innocent people before their affidavits are ever challenged.

The Supreme Court has ruled that when the police knowingly or recklessly include false statements in search warrant affidavits in cases where there would otherwise be insufficient cause, any evidence recovered cannot be admitted in court. False statements often come to light if arrests are made, as defense lawyers challenge search warrants in court.

A number of deficient affidavits may never be closely scrutinized, legal analysts say, because defendants have agreed to plead guilty for other reasons.

In Louisville, Thomas Clay, a lawyer connected to the Breonna Taylor case, knows the issue from both sides.

Mr. Clay and a colleague, David Ward, once represented Susan Jean King, an amputee with one leg and a slight build who was accused of fatally shooting a former boyfriend at her home and then throwing his body into a river.

“This was his theory,” Mr. Ward said of the detective who took on the investigation as a cold case some eight years after the killing. “It was physically impossible for her to commit the homicide, drag his body out of her home and into her nonexistent car, and then take this large, 189-pound man and toss his body over a bridge and into the Kentucky River.”

Ms. King’s lawyers claimed that the detective falsely implied in at least one of the search warrant affidavits that a .22-caliber bullet found in the floor of Ms. King’s home was one of the rounds that killed the man.

But it had already been established that the man died of .22-caliber bullets that lodged in his head without exiting, Ms. King’s lawyers noted, and they argued that the detective’s assertion was implausible. A judge agreed, saying that the detective had omitted exculpatory evidence from his search warrant affidavits.

Nonetheless, Ms. King entered an Alford plea to second-degree manslaughter — in which she pleaded guilty while maintaining her innocence — and was serving more than five years in prison when another man admitted to the killing. She was ultimately exonerated.

In 2020, the state agreed to pay Ms. King a $750,000 settlement for malicious prosecution. Through his lawyer at the time, the detective, who had retired from the force by then, denied any wrongdoing.

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Now, Mr. Clay is representing Mr. Jaynes, the detective accused of lying to obtain the search warrant for Ms. Taylor’s home.

“Search warrants are always fair game to be scrutinized and they should be scrutinized,” Mr. Clay said, though he declined to discuss Mr. Jaynes’s case.

Mr. Jaynes pleaded not guilty to the federal charges on Thursday and has said that he was relying in part on information from another officer when he prepared the affidavit.

Officers who provide false information under oath when preparing search warrant affidavits may take short cuts, Mr. Clay said, because they believe they already know the outcome of the case but do not yet have enough evidence to support the warrant.

“The most extreme example is when they are just dishonest, even though they are under oath,” Mr. Clay said.

Ed Davis, the former Boston police commissioner, said the consequences of lying on a search warrant could be severe.

“It’s tragic when you see police falsify information to obtain a search warrant, and it is also dumb,” Mr. Davis said. “Every one of those search warrants can turn into a disaster.”

In Ms. Taylor’s case, the prosecutors said that another detective, Kelly Goodlett, whom the department moved to fire on Thursday, had also added misleading information to the affidavit, saying that Ms. Taylor’s former boyfriend had recently used her address as his “current home address.” Prosecutors charged Detective Goodlett with conspiring with Mr. Jaynes to falsify the warrant.

Mr. Jaynes has admitted that he did not personally verify the information about the packages with a postal inspector. He has said he was told by a sergeant about the packages, and believed that was enough to back up his claims in the affidavit.

“I had no reason to lie in this case,” he told a police board in Louisville that was considering his firing last year.

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In the federal indictment against Mr. Jaynes, however, prosecutors charged that this claim, too, was false, and that the sergeant had actually told Mr. Jaynes twice that he did not know about any packages being sent to Ms. Taylor’s home for her former boyfriend.

The judge who signed off on the warrant for Ms. Taylor’s apartment, Judge Mary Shaw, declined to comment through an assistant on Friday, noting that she could be called to testify in the criminal case against the officers. Judge Shaw is up for re-election in November, and The Louisville Courier Journal reported that she was the only one of 17 incumbent Jefferson Circuit Court judges to face a challenger for her seat.

Susan C. Beachy contributed research.

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A journalist since 1994, he also founded DMGlobal Marketing & Public Relations. Glover has an extensive list of clients including corporations, non-profits, government agencies, politics, business owners, PR firms, and attorneys.

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MAN ON A MISSION: Jackson State Football Coach Deion Sanders

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(JACKSON, MS) – His name is being heard all over the football world. This time, he’s not the star player. This time, Deion Sanders is the coach. And he is the coach at an HBCU, Jackson State. The school’s history goes back to 1877 in Natchez, Mississippi.

Natchez has a wicked history. Thousands of Blacks were buried there in a mass grave now covered by peaches.

Nonetheless, it is simply wonderful that Coach Sanders has lent himself to such a worthy effort. His sharing of his expertise with the young people in the football program speaks volumes.

According to the Tigers’ website: “Deion Sanders has always been a game-changer. In his tenure as Head Football Coach of Jackson State University, Sanders has again changed the game for Tiger Football, the Department of Athletics, the University as a whole, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, College Football, and the Nation.

An unprecedented calendar year of 2021 showed the power of the influence of Sanders and the brand of Jackson State University coming together as one, seemingly in perfect alignment.

As the Southwestern Athletic Conference played a spring 2021 football season due to the coronavirus, the number 21 Sanders donned on his way to a Pro Football Hall of Fame career became immersed at JSU.

Sanders, named as the 21st head coach in the proud history of JSU football on September 21, 2020, led the Tigers in his first game as head coach on February 21, 2021. A 53-0 win began the Coach Prime era that was a touch point of the elevation of JSU football and the University into becoming one of the most impactful and recognizable brands nationwide.” READ MORE

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Team Dream: 82 AND 77-YEAR OLD BLACK FEMALE SWIMMERS MAKE HISTORY AFTER COMPETING IN NATIONAL SENIOR GAMES

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(PLANTATION, FL) – Ann Smith (age 82) and Madeline Murphy Rabb (age 77) are two African American swimmers who recently competed in the 2022 National Senior Games and were the only Black women to compete in their age group.

Their love for swimming is deep and is a part of a documentary film profiling their passion for swimming as girls who didn’t let barriers to swimming stop them from seeking their sports dreams. Their story is a reminder of the days of segregation where Blacks often could not swim in pools saved for whites.

A documentary short called Team Dream from award-winning filmmaker Luchina Fisher follows their story and will debut at Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival in August (and then on BET in the fall) thanks to Procter & Gamble’s initiative Widen the Screen and Queen Collective.

Despite being omitted from the history books, Africans and African Americans have a long history of swimming. Team Dream sheds light on the lack of access to pools for Blacks during segregation that resulted in fewer Blacks learning how to swim.

About the Director
Luchina Fisher is an award-winning writer, director, and producer whose work is at the intersection of race, gender, and identity. She can discuss why this film is important to her, how she found Ann and Madeline, and the importance of breaking down the stereotype that “Blacks can’t swim.”

About Widen The Screen
Widen The Screen is an expansive content creation, talent development, and partnership platform that celebrates creativity and enables Black creators to share the full richness of the Black experience. “Only when we Widen The Screen to Widen Our Views can we all broaden the spectrum of images we see, the voices we hear, the stories we tell, and the people we understand.”

About Queen Collective
In 2018, P&G, Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment, and Tribeca Studios launched the Queen Collective, a mentoring and talent development program designed to give women filmmakers of color a platform to share important stories from their unique perspectives. Now in its fourth year, the Queen Collective is enabling a record number of female directors and other creatives to produce their original documentaries and scripted pieces to share their perspectives through film.

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Liz Cheney Is Ready to Lose. But She’s Not Ready to Quit.

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — It was just over a month before her primary, but Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming was nowhere near the voters weighing her future.

Ms. Cheney was instead huddled with fellow lawmakers and aides in the Capitol complex, bucking up her allies in a cause she believes is more important than her House seat: Ridding American politics of former President Donald J Trump and his influence.

“The nine of us have done more to prevent Trump from ever regaining power than any group to date,” she said to fellow members of the panel investigating Mr. Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. “We can’t let up.”

The most closely-watched primary of 2022 has not become much of a race at all. Polls show Ms. Cheney losing badly to her rival, Harriet Hageman, Mr. Trump’s vehicle for revenge, and the congresswoman has been all but driven out of her Trump-loving state, in part because of death threats, her office says.

Yet for Ms. Cheney, the race stopped being about political survival months ago. Instead, she’s used the Aug. 16 contest as a sort of a high-profile stage for her martyrdom — and a proving ground for her new crusade. She used the only debate to tell voters to “vote for somebody else” if they wanted a politician who would violate their oath of office. Last week, she enlisted her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, to cut an ad calling Mr. Trump a “coward” who represents the greatest threat to America in the history of the republic.

In a state where Mr. Trump won 70 percent of the vote two years ago, Ms. Cheney might as well be asking ranchers to go vegan.

“If the cost of standing up for the Constitution is losing the House seat, then that’s a price I’m willing to pay,” she said in an interview this week in the conference room of a Cheyenne bank.

The 56-year-old daughter of a politician who once had visions of rising to the top of the House leadership — but landed as vice president instead — has become arguably the most consequential rank-and-file member of Congress in modern times. Few others have so aggressively used the levers of the office to attempt to reroute the course of American politics — but, in doing so, she has effectively sacrificed her own future in the institution she grew up to revere.

Ms. Cheney’s relentless focus on Mr. Trump has driven speculation — even among longtime family friends — that she is preparing to run for president. She has done little to dissuade such talk.

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At a house party Thursday night in Cheyenne, with former Vice President Dick Cheney happily looking on under a pair of mounted leather chaps, the host introduced Ms. Cheney by recalling how another Republican woman, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, confronted Senator Joseph McCarthy when doing so was unpopular — and went on to become the first female candidate for president from a major party.

The attendees applauded at the parallel, as Ms. Cheney smiled.

In the interview, she said she was focused on her primary — and her work on the committee. But it’s far from clear that she could be a viable candidate in the current Republican Party, or whether she has interest in the donor-class schemes about a third-party bid, in part because she knows it may just siphon votes from a Democrat opposing Mr. Trump.

Ms. Cheney said she had no interest in changing parties: “I’m a Republican.” But when asked if the G.O.P. she was raised in was even salvageable in the short term, she said: “It may not be” and called her party “very sick.”

The party, she said, “is continuing to drive itself in a ditch and I think it’s going to take several cycles if it can be healed.”

Ms. Cheney suggested she was animated as much by Trumpism as Mr. Trump himself. She could support a Republican for president in 2024, she said, but her redline is a refusal to state clearly that Mr. Trump lost a legitimate election in 2020.

Asked if the ranks of off-limits candidates included Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, whom many Republicans have latched onto as a Trump alternative, she said she “would find it very difficult” to support Mr. DeSantis in a general election.

“I think that Ron DeSantis has lined himself up almost entirely with Donald Trump, and I think that’s very dangerous,” Ms. Cheney said.

It’s easy to hear other soundings of a White House bid in Ms. Cheney’s rhetoric.

In Cheyenne, she channeled the worries of “moms” and what she described as their hunger for “somebody’s who’s competent.” Having once largely scorned identity politics — Ms. Cheney was only the female lawmaker who wouldn’t pose for a picture of the women of Congress after 2018 — she now freely discusses gender and her perspective as a mother.

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“These days, for the most part, men are running the world, and it is really not going that well,” she said in June when she spoke at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

In a sign that Ms. Cheney’s political awakening goes beyond her contempt for Mr. Trump, she said she prefers the ranks of Democratic women with national security backgrounds to her party’s right flank.

“I would much rather serve with Mikie Sherrill and Chrissy Houlahan and Elissa Slotkin than Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, even though on substance certainly I have big disagreements with the Democratic women I just mentioned,” Ms. Cheney said in the interview. “But they love this country, they do their homework and they are people that are trying to do the right thing for the country.”

Ms. Cheney is surer of her diagnosis for what ails the G.O.P. than she is of her prescription for reform.

She has no post-Congress political organization in waiting and has benefited from Democratic donors, whose affections may be fleeting. To the frustration of some allies, she has not expanded her inner circle beyond family and a handful of close advisers. Never much of a schmoozer, she said she longed for what she recalled as her father’s era of policy-centric politics.

“What the country needs are serious people who are willing to engage in debates about policy,” Ms. Cheney said.

It’s all a far cry from the Liz Cheney of a decade ago, who had a contract to appear regularly on Fox News and would use her perch as a guest host for Sean Hannity to present her unswerving conservative views and savage former President Barack Obama and Democrats.

Today, Ms. Cheney doesn’t concede specific regrets about helping to create the atmosphere that gave rise to Mr. Trump’s takeover of her party. She did, however, acknowledge a “reflexive partisanship that I have been guilty of” and noted Jan. 6 “demonstrated how dangerous that is.”

Few lawmakers today face those dangers as regularly as Ms. Cheney, who has had a full-time Capitol Police security detail for nearly a year because of the threats against her — protection few rank-and-file lawmakers are assigned. She no longer provides advance notice about her Wyoming travel and, not welcome at most county and state Republican events, has turned her campaign into a series of invite-only House parties.

What’s more puzzling than her schedule is why Ms. Cheney, who has raised over $13 million, has not poured more money into the race, especially early on when she had an opportunity to define Ms. Hageman. Ms. Cheney had spent roughly half her war chest as of the start of July, spurring speculation that she was saving money for future efforts against Mr. Trump.

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Ms. Cheney long ago stopped attending meetings of House Republicans. When at the Capitol, she spends much of her time with the Democrats on the Jan. 6 panel and often heads to the Lindy Boggs Room, the reception room for female lawmakers, rather than the House floor with the male-dominated House G.O.P. conference. Some members of the Jan. 6 panel have been struck by how often her Zoom background is her suburban Virginia home.

In Washington, even some Republicans who are also eager to move on from Mr. Trump question Ms. Cheney’s decision to wage open war against her own party. She’s limiting her future influence, they argue.

“It depends on if you want to go out in a blaze of glory and be ineffective or if you want to try to be effective,” said Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who has his own future leadership aspirations. “I respect her but I wouldn’t have made the same choice.”

Ms. Cheney is mindful that the Jan. 6 inquiry, with its prime-time hearings, is viewed by critics as an attention-seeking opportunity. She has turned down some opportunities that could have been helpful to her ambitions, most notably proposals from documentary filmmakers.

Still, to her skeptics at home, Ms. Cheney’s attacks on Mr. Trump have resurrected dormant questions about her ties to the state and raised fears that she has gone Washington and taken up with the opposition, dismissing the political views of the voters who gave her and her father their starts in electoral politics.

At a parade in Casper last month, held while Ms. Cheney was in Washington preparing for a hearing, Ms. Hageman received frequent applause from voters who said the incumbent had lost her way.

“Her voting record is not bad,” said Julie Hitt, a Casper resident. “But so much of her focus is on Jan 6.”

“She’s so in bed with the Democrats, with Pelosi and with all them people,” Bruce Hitt, Ms. Hitt’s husband, interjected.

Notably, no voters interviewed at the parade brought up Ms. Cheney’s support for the gun control bill the House passed just weeks earlier — the sort of apostasy that would have infuriated Wyoming Republicans in an era more dominated by policy than one man’s persona.

“Her vote on the gun bill hardly got any publicity whatsoever,” Mike Sullivan, a former Democratic governor of Wyoming who intends to vote for Ms. Cheney in the primary, said, puzzled. (Ms. Cheney is pushing independents and Democrats to re-register as Republicans, as least long enough to vote for her in the primary.)

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For Ms. Cheney, any sense of bafflement about this moment — a Cheney, Republican royalty, being effectively read out of the party — has faded in the year and a half since the Capitol attack.

When she attended the funeral last year for Mike Enzi, the former Wyoming senator, Ms. Cheney welcomed a visiting delegation of G.O.P. senators. As she greeted them one by one, several praised her bravery and told her keep up the fight against Mr. Trump, she recalled.

She did not miss the opportunity to pointedly remind them: They, too, could join her.

“There have been so many moments like that,” she said at the bank, a touch of weariness in her voice.



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