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Officer Who Returned Fire in Breonna Taylor Shooting Reveals What He Would Have Done Differently


Jonathan Mattingly, the Louisville police sergeant involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, says she would be alive if officers immediately executed the no-knock search warrant at her apartment in a March raid.

“We would have either served the no-knock warrant or we would have done the normal thing we do, which is five to 10 seconds,” he told Good Morning America host Michael Strahan in an interview that aired Wednesday. “To not give people time to formulate a plan, not give people time to get their senses so they have an idea of what they’re doing. Because if that had happened, I’m telling you, Michael, if that had happened, Breonna Taylor would be alive.”

Police shot and killed Taylor on March 13. They had been there to execute a no-knock warrant in connection to a drug case against Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover. Police said that Glover (who did not live on the premises) used her apartment to obtain packages. Authorities used this allegation to obtain the no-knock warrant, though they’ve claimed they knocked on Taylor’s door and said who they were.

Taylor’s then-boyfriend Kenneth Walker opened fire after they entered, officers said. They fired back. As heard in a 911 call, Walker voiced confusion about who was at the door.

“I don’t know what’s happening,” Walker told the operator. “Somebody kicked in the door, and shot my girlfriend.”

In the account from Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R), there was no evidence Mattingly was shot by other officers in friendly fire. It was Walker who fired first, shooting Mattingly in the leg.

Three officers–Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove, and Detective Brett Hankison–opened fire. Taylor was struck six times. Cameron said the Kentucky State Police did not determine who fired the bullet that killed her. An FBI lab said it was Cosgrove.

No charges were filed in her death. Hankison lost his job, and was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment because he allegedly fired into a neighboring apartment occupied by three people–a man, a pregnant woman, and a child. He has pleaded not guilty. Cameron said the other officers were justified in firing their service weapons because Walker shot first. Walker legally owned the firearm.

Walker has said that he did not hear police announce themselves. Mattingly said they did. Cameron said a witness who lived near Taylor’s apartment corroborated that officers both knocked and announced they were there. (That witness reportedly changed his story after initially saying police did not announce themselves.)

Mattingly statements on the case were first publicized in a letter written to police before the Hankison indictment.

“Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday,” he said, writing before the Hankison indictment was announced, “I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night. It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized.”

In the interview with Strahan, Mattingly called Taylor’s death a tragedy and expressed sympathy for her family. But he said this case was different from other controversial incidents, including the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

“It’s not a race thing like people want to try to make it out to be,” he said. “It’s not. This is a point where we were doing our job, we gave too much time when we go in, I get shot, we returned fire. This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It’s nothing like that.”

Taylor was Black. So is Walker. Mattingly, Cosgrove, and Hankison are white.

Mattingly said he had Black friends growing up in Portland.

“I didn’t understand the racial injustices as a kid because my friends were Black,” he said, according to The Courier Journal. “Just, it didn’t click to me that there was this, this visceral hate out there. I didn’t know that. So when somebody calls me a racist, I do (find) it offensive.”

Mattingly said the Taylor family’s attorney Ben Crump is an “agitator.” He asserted that people would have a very different understanding of the incident if city leaders immediately debunked misinformation, such as Taylor being in asleep in bed when she died. (According to Cameron, Mattingly had said that two people–Taylor and Walker–had been standing next to each other at the end of a hall.)

Taylor “didn’t deserve to die,” Mattingly said. “She didn’t do anything to deserve a death sentence.”

[Screengrab via ABC News]

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