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Investigators: Cops Shouldn’t Have Returned Fire After Being Shot During Breonna Taylor Raid

Louisville, KY – Newly released documents from the internal investigation of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Breonna Taylor showed that an investigator determined that all of the officers who fired their weapons that night should have been fired, but Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) officials didn’t agree.

The incident occurred when LMPD officers were serving a search warrant related to a drug investigation on Taylor’s apartment with a team of officers on March 13, 2020.

Walker opened fire on the officers and shot LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg, kicking off a gunfight that left Taylor dead.

Former LMPD Officer Brett Hankison is facing charges for shooting into the occupied apartment next door to Taylor’s during the incident.

But none of the officers were charged in connection with Taylor’s death after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron ruled the shooting was “justified.”

Walker was initially arrested and charged with attempted murder for shooting Sgt. Mattingly, but the charges were later dropped, CBS News reported.

The investigative records showed that after Taylor was shot, Walker told police that it was his girlfriend who had shot at them as he was being arrested.

“We were in bed, we were scared! We didn’t know who it was!” Walker told officers in the video. “She asked 10 times, ‘who’s at the door?’”

“There was banging at the door she said ‘who is it’ and then they started shooting,” he claimed.

“No. We said three times we had a search warrant,” one of the officers told Walker in the video.

That’s when police realized there had been somebody else shot inside the apartment.

Walker later changed his story and admitted he had been the one who opened fire and shot Sgt. Mattingly.

Newly released documents showed that the Professional Standards Unit investigator who reviewed the incident determined that none of the officers should have fired their weapon that night, even after Sgt. Mattingly was shot, ABC News reported.

LMPD Sergeant Andrew Meyer wrote in a preliminary report dated Dec. 4, 2020 that the officers should have held their fire after Walker fired on them.

“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,” Sgt. Meyer wrote in his report.

Sgt. Meyer determined that Sgt. Mattingly and former LMPD Officers Myles Cosgrove and Hankison violated department policy when they returned fire after Walker shot Sgt. Mattingly, ABC News reported.

The internal report said the officers ignored the significant risk of hitting someone who did not pose a risk when they returned fire at Walker.

Sgt. Meyer said deadly force should have only been used against Walker, ABC News reported.

Walker wasn’t hit when officers fired back at him, but Taylor was shot six times, prompting speculation that her boyfriend was hiding behind her.

Sgt. Meyer’s report said Sgt. Mattingly “should not have taken the shot” because Walker wasn’t a clear, isolated target, ABC News reported.

“Ms. Taylor’s safety should have been considered before he [Mattingly] returned fire,” the sergeant wrote.

LMPD Lieutenant Jeff Artman signed off on Sgt. Meyer’s preliminary report findings but department officials were not on the same page, ABC News reported.

The police department terminated Officers Cosgrove and Hankison for violating department policy in connection with the shooting, but then LMPD Interim Police Chief Yvette Gentry cleared Sgt. Mattingly.

Then-Chief Gentry wrote a memo that said Sgt. Mattingly saw a gun in Walker’s hand which posed “an immediate threat of death or serious injury to an officer,” ABC News reported.

“Sergeant Mattingly’s actions therefore need to be examined through the lens of what he reasonably believed at the time he discharged his weapon at an identified threat, at the end of a dimly lit hallway, after being shot himself,” Chief Gentry wrote.

Former Chief Gentry was recently replaced by former Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, who infamously denied Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe due process after the officer-involved shooting of Rayshard Brooks in June of 2020.

“I fired people that some believe should have been suspended, I reprimanded people some people [said] should have been exonerated, and I overturned what was believed was not appropriate for the situation,” the former interim chief explained in a statement on May 7.

Sgt. Mattingly recently announced his intention to retire on June 1, ABC News reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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