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Interim Police Chief: Detective ‘Lied’ When He Said He Verified Underlying Basis of Breonna Taylor Search Warrant


Breonna Taylor

The police department in Louisville, Kentucky plans on firing two detectives over the botched raid on the apartment of Breonna Taylor. An attorney for Detective Myles Cosgrove has said that his client received a pre-termination letter, and it was later reported this letter showed that the detective allegedly did “not identify a specific target” in opening fire. Lawyer Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, posted a pre-termination letter addressed to Detective Joshua Jaynes, whom the interim police chief accused of lying.

Jaynes was the detective who sought the warrant for a no-knock raid at Taylor’s home that took place on March 13. Officers shot and killed her in a confrontation with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who said he did not know these were police. Officers never found evidence against the couple in the underlying drug case, which was against an ex-boyfriend of Taylor’s. The attempted murder case against Walker–who was charged with shooting Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly–was dropped. As critics of the incident would put it, cops obtained a search warrant against an innocent woman, they broke into her home, Walker opened fire in self-defense not knowing these were police, and officers killed Taylor.

“It is clear from this review there should have been better controls, supervision and scrutiny over this operation prior to the warrant being signed and executed,” said Yvette Gentry, interim chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department. “Because the operations plan was not completed properly a very dangerous situation was created for all parties involved. You were the officer who conducted the majority of the investigation; however, neither you, your direct supervisor, or his lieutenant were present or available at the scene when the search warrant was executed.”

Gentry followed up by saying Jaynes lied when he claimed to verify through a US Postal Inspector that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, had been receiving packages at Taylor’s home. According to Gentry, the detective got that information third-hand.

“Detective Jaynes did not have contact with a US Postal Inspector,” Gentry wrote. “He received the information from Sergeant Mattingly, who got it from a Shively Police Officer. Detective Jaynes also lied when he swore a US Postal Inspector advised ‘that Jamarcus Glover has been receiving packages at 3003 Springfield Drive #4.'”

Interview transcripts previously released by the city of Louisville showed a Shively police detective and a sergeant saying they checked with their postal inspector, who told them Glover had not received packages at Taylor’s home. “I told Jon Mattingly that, you know, ‘Hey no parcels,’ and that was pretty much the end of it.” In Jaynes’ interview with investigations, he said that he understood what this information meant as being there were no suspicious packages, but regular mail still was. Shively police Sgt. Timothy Salyer said that Jaynes texted him a month after the raid. “It seemed odd,” he said, later adding, “I don’t know how to say it without saying it looks like you’re trying to cover your ass, is what it appears to me.”

Cosgrove, Mattingly, and a now-fired Detective Brett Hankison opened fire after they broke into Taylor’s apartment shortly after midnight on March 13. Hankison was fired and criminally charged not for the death of Taylor, but because he allegedly “blindly” fired, with rounds entering a neighboring apartment. An FBI lab determined it was Cosgrove who fired the fatal shot, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) said in at a press conference. Cameron said officers other than Hankison were justified in firing their service weapons because Walker shot first. No charges were filed in Taylor’s death.

The police department seeks Cosgrove’s firing, reasoning that he did not identify a target, and that he did not accurately evaluate the threat. If he had evaluated the threat accurately, then he would have likely stopped shooting “once the gunfire had stopped.”

“The shots you fired went in three distinctly different directions, demonstrating that you did not identify a specific target,” she wrote in a letter obtained by The Louisville Courier-Journal. “Rather, you fired in a manner consistent with suppressive fire, which is in direct contradiction to our training, values and policy.”

The interim chief said that it appeared Cosgrove fired 16 rounds after Walker fired once.

“Two rounds were found in Ms. Taylor’s body and were identified as fired from your firearm, one being the fatal shot,” Gentry wrote.

A meeting is scheduled for Thursday. Jaynes’ attorney Thomas Clay denied wrongdoing.

“There’s information out there that seriously calls into question any allegation that detective Jaynes did anything improper,” he told WLKY.

Cosgrove attorney Jarrod Beck told the outlet that his client did get a pre-termination notice. He declined to comment when Law&Crime first reached out for more information.

Update – December 30, 4:04 p.m.: We added information regarding Cosgrove’s pre-termination letter.

4:41 p.m.: Beck again declined to comment when we followed up regarding the details of the letter.

[Image via Office of Ben Crump]

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