Officer involved in fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor speaks out publicly for first time
According to ABC News, a police officer who was involved in the controversial killing of an innocent 26-year-old black woman while executing a search warrant said, "I feel for her. I hurt for her mother and for her sisters," during a Wednesday morning interview.
EXCLUSIVE: Jonathan Mattingly, officer involved in the Breonna Taylor incident, said to @ABC & @courierjournal he “100%” believes she would be alive if they only waited “five to ten seconds” before entering the apartment: “I wish we’d done it different.” https://t.co/lRyRfy6bju pic.twitter.com/qRMKmdGl60— 20/20 (@ABC2020) October 21, 2020
The woman killed, Breonna Taylor, was a medical technician who was not tied to an investigation involving her new boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. But as seven Louisville Metropolitan Police Officers entered her home on March 13, apparently expecting to find Walker, the officers sprayed her home with bullets.
Walker, shocked by the sudden intrusion and allegedly thinking they were being robbed, grabbed a gun and began firing back at the officers. Taylor, who had no ties to the case, was shot multiple times and killed.
For the first time, the officer who Walker shot during the gunfire, broke his silence regarding the incident in a Wednesday morning interview with Good Morning America's Michael Strahan.
During the interview, Sgt Jonathan Mattingly expressed empathy for Taylor's family and said he wished he'd handled the situation differently, but Mattingly was also adamant that the case had "nothing to do with race."
He claimed that though Taylor's death was tragic, it wasn't an example of excessive force due to racial prejudice.
"It's not a race thing like people want to try to make it to be. 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," he said.
"This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It's nothing like that."
"She didn't deserve to die," Mattingly continued. "She didn't do anything to deserve a death sentence."
Mattingly expressed deep regret over the way he and his fellow officers carried out the execution of the search warrant.
"What would I have done differently, the answer to that is simple now that I've been thinking about it," Mattingly said. "Number one, 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. 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 ... Breonna Taylor would be alive, 100 percent."
Describing how the incident began, Mattingly said the team of seven officers arrived at Taylor's apartment after midnight and approached the front door in a line, "like a train."
He said that as the team reached the porch, a neighbor came out of his apartment and started arguing with them, engaging in an expletive-laced verbal dispute with Officer Brett Hankison.
"I remember him saying at one point, 'She's a good girl, leave her alone' or something to that effect," Mattingly recalled. "Finally, I looked at Brett and said, 'Leave that alone and pay attention to what we're doing.'"
Mattingly recalls initially banging on Taylor's door, but not announcing immediately that it was the police.
"So we get up, I remember banging on the door, it's open hand, hard smack, bam, bam, bam, bam. First time, didn't announce. Just hoping she would come to the door," Mattingly said.
He said the second time they banged on the door, they repeatedly yelled, 'Police, search warrant!"
Mattingly said they knocked on Taylor's door six different times. He said the last time they knocked, Detective Mike Nobles, who was standing on the opposite side of the door across from him, thought he heard someone coming to the door.
"So we stop, we listen. Nobody says anything. We yell again, 'Police, search warrant. Open the door if you're here,'" he said.
Mattingly said that when no one answered, Nobles rammed the door open. Mattingly said he was the first inside and while trying to clear a hallway he saw two figures side-by-side at the end of the hall.
He said the only light in the apartment was coming from a TV in a back bedroom and the lights on the guns of the officers behind him.
"As soon as I turned the corner, my eyes went straight to the barrel of this gun. I could see the tip of it. And my eyes just focused in on it as soon as I saw it," Mattingly said.
Saying that "everything happened in milliseconds," Mattingly said he heard a shot and immediately felt a burning sensation in his leg.
"As soon as I felt the smack on my leg and the heat, I -- boom, boom -- returned four return shots, four shots," he said, adding that he fired two additional rounds as the shooter rushed into a bedroom.
Mattingly said he fell to the ground and scooted to an area to seek cover. He said one of his colleagues, Officer Cosgrove, opened fire two to three seconds after he stopped shooting.
A ballistics analysis determined that Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor, officials said.
During his recent interview, Mattingly was quite vocal in his disappointment with city officials for not coming to his defense after the shooting.
"It's been excruciating," he said. "When you have the truth right there in your hands and everything else is getting crammed around you, it's frustrating."
Last month, Mattingly was criticized for sending an email to more than 1,000 of his Louisville Police colleagues that accused the city's mayor and police chief of failing "all of us in epic proportions for their own gain and to cover their a****."
He continued, "legal, moral and ethical thing that night," adding: "It's sad how the good guys are demonized, and the criminals are canonized."
That said, Mattingly is one of three officers who've been cleared of homicide charges by a Kentucky grand jury as of September.
The only officer charged, Brett Hankison, was not charged with Taylor's death, but with wanton endangerment for firing into a neighbor's apartment.
The ruling sparked shock and frustration across the nation, adding fuel to Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Multiple protests broke out in Louisville as citizens spoke out against racial inequality.
Lawyers for Taylor's family said the grand jury was never asked by prosecutors to consider murder charges and shortly thereafter, a member of the grand jury said the lawyers were correct.
The anonymous juror was allowed to release the statement, by way of a judge who ruled it was in the public interest.
After the juror's statement was released, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron tweeted that he stood by his department's work, and would not be appealing against the judge's ruling.
Taylor's family sued the Kentucky city for the death in May and reached a $12m settlement.