Investigators who conducted an internal probe into the death of Breonna Taylor have determined that the three Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers involved should not have fired any shots into her apartment.
According to ABC News, back in December, Sgt. Andrew Meyer of LMPD’s Professional Standards Unit concluded in a preliminary report that LMPD Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and former LMPD officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison should have held their fire after Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, let off a warning shot.
Mattingly, who was shot in the leg during the botched raid, Hankison and Cosgrove all reportedly violated the department's use-of-force policy by ignoring the risk of shooting someone who did not pose 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 his report.
Meyer also stated that deadly force should have only been used against Walker, the person who initially fired a gunshot. Mattingly “should not have taken the shot” because Walker was not a clear, remote target. “Ms. Taylor’s safety should have been considered before he (Mattingly) returned fire,” Meyer wrote.
Jeff Artman, Meyer’s lieutenant, supported the preliminary findings.
Walker was not injured during the shooting, but Taylor was shot six times. At least one of those bullets came from Mattingly. FBI ballistics proved that Cosgrove fired the fatal shot, while Hankison, who was the only officer to be charged in the shooting, fired 10 rounds into a glass patio door that had the blinds drawn.
Cosgrove and Hankison were subsequently fired for violating the department’s policy. Mattingly was cleared of any wrongdoing by former interim Louisville police Chief Yvette Gentry, although Meyers recommended that all three officers face disciplinary action.
Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor’s family, said the newly released documents add more questions than answers about Chief Gentry’s decision not to discipline Mattingly.
“Had the officers did as they were trained, they would have retreated,” Baker told WHAS. “According to this investigator, it didn’t justify any shots because they couldn’t assess the threat. It’s disappointing that Chief Gentry went against the recommendation of the investigators. Only she knows the reason that she did that.”