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An attorney for Louisville police Sgt. Jon Mattingly released body cam footage on Thursday, which he says depicts his client after being shot by Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker.
“They called him a ‘murderer,’ when all he did was defend himself,” said attorney Todd V. McMurtry.
Police are aware of the video.
“We are aware that a body camera of an officer responding on the night of March 13th has surfaced on some media channels,” said the Louisville Metro Police Department in a statement on Friday to Law&Crime. “That video shows Sgt. Mattingly receiving medical attention after he was shot. We do not know who leaked that video. We are not going to comment on the content of the video due to our ongoing internal review of what happened that night.”
Mattingly was one of three officers who opened fire at 26-year-old Breonna Taylor’s apartment during the execution of a search warrant in a drug case. Now-Fired Detective Brett Hankison was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury for three counts of wanton endangerment after some bullets allegedly entered a neighboring apartment. None of the police were charged in Taylor’s death, however.
Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove were not charged. Authorities said the police opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend Walker wounded Mattingly with a gunshot to the leg.
“No indictments against John Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove in the #BreonnaTaylor matter,” McMurtry wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “Anyone who called these honorable men ‘murderers’ needs to retract and apologize immediately.”
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) called Taylor’s death a tragedy, but said the law did not permit other charges under the circumstances.
“While there are six possible homicide charges under Kentucky law, these charges are not applicable to the facts before us because our investigation showed, and the grand jury agreed, that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in the return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker,” he said in a press conference Wednesday. “Let me state that again: According to Kentucky law, the use of force by Mattingly and Cosgrove was justified to protect themselves. This justification bars us from pursuing criminal charges in Miss Breonna Taylor’s death.”
Cameron identified the occupants of the neighboring apartment as a man, pregnant woman, and a child.
An attempted murder case against Walker was previously dropped. He said that he did not know this was law enforcement breaking into his home. Cameron said Wednesday that there was a witness who corroborated the police account that cops did announce themselves. Taylor’s family has said she was never involved in drugs. A main suspect in the drug case, Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, was subject to raid at another residence shortly before the fatal incident.
Attorney and city councilwoman Jessica Green (D-District 1) basically argues that Cameron put his finger on the scale in avoiding charges for Mattingly and Cosgrove. A self-defense claim was not applicable in the shooting death of Taylor because the victim was unarmed, Green said in an interview Wednesday night with CNN’s Don Lemon.
“So that idea that they even allowed, or even brought up the idea of self-defense in this case, again, it shows that [Cameron] either doesn’t know the law, or he doesn’t give a crap about what the law actually is,” she said.
Taylor’s death landed on a cultural fault line: the ongoing national debate in how law enforcement treats people of color, especially Black people. The victim was Black. So is Walker, Glover, Cameron, and Green. Hankison, Mattingly, and Cosgrove are white. Reportedly, so are the three people in the neighboring apartment.
Critics of the Taylor shooting or similar controversial incidents assert that law enforcement are more likely to brutalize Black or brown people than white, even in circumstances when those Black or brown people may present far less, if any, immediate danger compared to certain white defendants.
Others dismiss the “Black Lives Matter” and “defund the police” movements, often arguing that criticism fuels more violence against law enforcement, and that officials are being vilified for just doing their jobs protecting others.
In a statement released early Tuesday morning, Mattingly described protesters as “thugs,” and described the friction between police and demonstrators in terms of a clash between good and evil.
New: LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly (who is being investigated as part of Breonna Taylor’s case) sent an email to around 1,000 officers at 2am that calls protestors thugs, complains about the government enforcing civil rights violations, and claims this is “good versus evil” pic.twitter.com/VcuyPDP790
— Roberto Aram Ferdman (@robferdman) September 22, 2020
“You DO NOT DESERVE to be in this position,” he said. “The position that allows thugs to get in your face and yell, curse and degrade you. Throw bricks, bottles and urine on you and expect you to do nothing.”
He did not describe the Taylor raid in detail, but asserted that top brass failed rank-and-file officers in aftermath. Mattingly defended police actions in that fatal incident.
“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.”
Louisville has settled with Taylor’s family for $12 million dollars. The settlement included certain police reforms. Mattingly, Cosgrove, and four other officers–Detectives Michael Campbell, Tony James, Joshua Jaynes, and Michael Nobles—are being investigated by the LMPD’s professional standards unit.
[Screengrab via Todd McMurtry]
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