May 6, 2021

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Louisville cop involved in deadly Breonna Taylor raid writing a book; critics condemn project

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One of the Louisville Metro Police officers who fired shots during the attempted search warrant execution that left Breonna Taylor dead in her apartment last year is writing a book about the case.

“The Fight For Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy,” written by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, 48, will be edited and published by Tennessee-based Post Hill Press.

Post Hill Press Senior Publicist Devon Brown confirmed Thursday morning that Mattingly’s book will be published by Post Hill this fall.

Mattingly will be available for interviews then, she said, declining further comment.

More:Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly: What to know about the Louisville cop shot in Breonna Taylor raid

Louisville’s The Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, learned of Mattingly’s book when he contacted a staff photographer Tuesday seeking permission to use a photo from May 2020 protests.

In the brief email, Mattingly said he is still “in the process of writing,” but did provide the title of his forthcoming book.

Post Hill Press’ website says it focuses on “pop culture, business, self-help, health, current events, Christian, and conservative political books,” and that its books are distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Some of the publisher’s most high-profile authors include right-wing favorites Dan Bongino, Laura Loomer and embattled GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz.

News of Mattingly’s book was swiftly met with criticism on social media.

“Stay focused, y’all,” state Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, wrote on Twitter. “People love to profit off of Black pain and tragedy. It sells.”

Shannon Coulter, co-founder of the progressive Grab Your Wallet boycott campaign with more than 90,000 followers, called out Simon & Schuster, and encouraged others to do the same.

“Will you be distributing this?” she asked.

Attorneys for Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Mattingly, who joined LMPD in 2000, sustained a gunshot wound that severed his femoral artery during the March 13, 2020 raid, requiring emergency surgery. He fired six rounds into the apartment after being shot, striking Taylor. The FBI concluded another officer, Myles Cosgrove, fired the fatal shot.

Kenneth Walker, who was initially charged for shooting Mattingly, said he didn’t know it was police at the door when he fired; Mattingly said he knocked and announced their presence. The charges against Walker have since been dismissed, though Mattingly and Walker have pending civil suits against each other.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was struck six times, and died in the hallway of her south Louisville apartment. Her death has been the impetus for protests and demonstrations across the country, with activists, celebrities and elected leaders demanding justice for her death.

This undated file photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. In news reported on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, Louisville police have taken steps that could result in the firing of an officer who sought the no-knock search warrant that led detectives to the apartment where Taylor was fatally shot.

A Jefferson County grand jury did not indict Mattingly for his role in the shooting, though three anonymous grand jurors later came forward and said they wish they could have recommended charges against more officers.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron, whose office acted as a special prosecutor in the case, said Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force, which barred his office from pursuing charges against them for Taylor’s death.

Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, the third officer to fire his weapon, have both been fired by the department for their actions that night.

FACT CHECK 2.0:Separating the truth from the lies in the Breonna Taylor police shooting

Hankison faces three counts of wanton endangerment for bullets that traveled into an adjacent apartment. He has pleaded not guilty and has a trial date set for Aug. 31 in Jefferson County.

LMPD did not immediately return a request for comment about the book.

LMPD also cleared Mattingly of any policy violations for the shooting in a department standards investigation.

In the year since the shooting, Mattingly is the only officer involved in the raid who has spoken publicly about what happened that night.

Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly is video taped by ABC News for an interview on 20/20. Mattingly was wounded during the botched drug raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment. Oct. 20, 2020

Speaking to The Courier Journal and ABC News in October, Mattingly said he’d like to find a way to help people going through situations like his. The Mattingly family experienced numerous threats — including at least one that forced them to flee their home — as Taylor’s death drew widespread attention for much of 2020.

“There is no playbook for this,” he said then. “There’s no guidebook that says, when you’re in these types of incidents, here’s what you do, here’s what your family needs to do … There’s nothing.

“The country has now been through enough of these incidents, there should be some protocol, some type of guidance.”

In the same interview, he fired some of his sharpest criticisms at Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and his administration. He said he begged the mayor’s office to release evidence or factual information but was told officials didn’t want to “set precedent” for future cases.

As Taylor’s death started to gain attention, Mattingly said “each day that passed” without misinformation being rectified was “adding fuel to the fire.”

“It fell on deaf ears, and politics, in my opinion, played a big part of it,” he said, declining to elaborate on who specifically he urged to speak out.

He pointed specifically to claims that Taylor was asleep when she was shot and that officers were at the wrong home, both of which are not accurate.

More:Six key questions Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly answered about the Breonna Taylor shooting

Mattingly also made headlines in September 2020, when he wrote an email to fellow officers lambasting city and department leadership and defending police actions.

“I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night,” he wrote the day before the grand jury indictment. “It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized.”

Mattingly said the email was taken out of context by the news media.

He specifically pointed to his use of the word “thugs,” arguing he was referring to “criminals” as thugs, not protesters. He also said policing is a “moral” job, not that killing Taylor was moral.

For the email, he received a letter of reprimand because it “did not serve any business purpose.”

Reach Tessa Duvall at tduvall@courier-journal.com and 502-582-4059. Twitter: @TessaDuvall.

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