It wasn’t just the public that thought the officers who shot Breonna Taylor were in the wrong; apparently a couple investigators in the Louisville Metro Police Department felt the same as well. A recently released report revealed that the investigators determined that the officers involved in the shooting shouldn’t have fired their guns at all.
According to ABC News, a preliminary report dated Dec. 4 by Sgt. Andrew Meyer of the LMPD’s Professional Standards Unit determined that none of the officers should have fired after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot at them. Meyer found that Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, as well as former officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, violated the department’s use-of-force policy as they ignored the high risk of harming someone who wasn’t 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 in the report.
Mattingly was shot in the leg during the raid after the officers rammed through Taylor’s door. Meyer wrote in the report that while he believed deadly force was justified against Walker, they shouldn’t have fired as he wasn’t an isolated target. “Ms. Taylor’s safety should have been considered before he (Mattingly) returned fire,” Meyer wrote.
From ABC News:
Meyer’s preliminary report findings were supported by his lieutenant, Jeff Artman.
While Walker was not injured in the shooting, Taylor was shot six times, including at least once by Mattingly, according to Meyer’s report.
An FBI ballistics report found that Cosgrove fired the fatal shot, while Hankison, who was standing outside the apartment, fired 10 errant rounds through a sliding glass patio door that had the blinds drawn.
Hankison was the only officer indicted on criminal charges in the shooting, but not for Taylor’s death. Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree because bullets he allegedly fired missed Taylor but penetrated a wall of the residence and entered a neighboring apartment occupied by a child, a man and a pregnant woman.
Hankison pleaded not guilty to the charges in September and is awaiting trial.
If anything, this report makes the way Taylor’s death has been handled even more frustrating. The officers were at Taylor’s apartment because they were investigating her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover who didn’t even live there. The officers said they knocked, even though they had a “no-knock” warrant, but Walker and neighbors in the apartment complex said they never heard the officers announce themselves.
So essentially, they were at a place they had no business being, created a dangerous situation that resulted in a woman’s death that even police investigators believe is fucked up, and the only reason no one is facing consequences for taking a life was because it all happened in the name of “the law.”
While Myer recommended that all three officers face disciplinary action, only Cosgrove and Hankison were fired by then-interim police chief Yvette Gentry. Gentry cleared Mattingly of wrongdoing, writing in a memo that “Sergeant Mattingly’s actions...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.”
Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor’s family, told WHAS that the new findings add even more questions as to why Mattingly wasn’t disciplined. “Had the officers did as they were trained, they would have retreated. According to this investigator, it didn’t justify any shots because they couldn’t assess the threat,” Baker told WHAS.
“It’s disappointing that Chief Gentry went against the recommendation of the investigators. Only she knows the reason that she did that.”