Breonna Taylor Probe Says Officers Should Not Have Fired
An internal investigation conducted by the Louisville Metro Police Department into the March 2020 shooting death of Breonna Taylor determined that the three officers involved, Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, should not have fired shots into her apartment in the fatal botched raid.
In documents obtained by ABC News, the department’s Professional Standards Unit determined that the three officers should have held their fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a shot, believing intruders had broken into their home.
According to ABC News, Sgt. Andrew Meyer, who co-authored the report with Lt. Jeff Artman, said the officers violated the department’s use-of-force policy when they incurred the risk of hitting someone who did not pose a threat.
“They took a total of thirty-two shots, when the provided circumstances made it unsafe to take a single shot. This is how the wrong person was shot and killed,” Meyer wrote.
Mattingly should not have returned fire, the report says, because Walker, who had a legal firearms permit, was not a clear target when he ducked into a bedroom, ABC News reported.
According to an FBI ballistics report, Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor while Hankison, while standing outside the apartment door fired ten rounds into the apartment through a patio door with drawn blinds.
Hankison and Cosgrove were fired from the department for policy violations. Hankison, who was fired from the LMPD, was the only officer charged for his actions after it was found that he fired three shots into a wall that connected to the adjacent apartment. He was charged with wanton endangerment and has pleaded not guilty. Last September, Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron announced that a grand jury declined to indict any officer in Taylor’s death.
Mattingly, who was struck in the leg by Walker’s shot, was not fired. He was cleared of wrongdoing by then-interim police chief Yvette Gentry. She had overruled a recommendation that all three officers face discipline. Mattingly is retiring as of June 1 and is writing a book about the incident.
In an October 2020 appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Mattingly said that officers knocked on the apartment door six times and loudly identified themselves. “So we stop, we listen. Nobody says anything. We yell again, ‘Police, search warrant. Open the door if you’re here,’ ” he said.
But Walker countered that during his own appearance on “CBS This Morning” in which he said no officer ever identified themselves and he and Taylor only heard loud banging.
“If it was the police at the door and they just said ‘we’re the police,’ me or Breonna didn’t have a reason at all not to open the door and see what they wanted,” said Walker.