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One of the Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor said in his first public remarks about the case this Tuesday that her death had nothing to do with race and that much of the publicized information about the March 13th shooting has been blatant “misinformation.”
Making matters worse, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly said, is that he and his fellow officers were forced into silence, thus making it impossible to push back on the lies.
“It’s been excruciating. When you have the truth right there in your hands and everything else is getting crammed around you, it’s frustrating,” he said in an exclusive interview with ABC News and the Louisville Courier Journal.
Yet when he begged the mayor’s office to release the actual facts on the case, he was told officials had refused because they didn’t want to “set precedent” for future cases.
“My response to that was, ‘So you’re willing to let the city burn down to not set a precedent for another case?’” he said of this decision.
“A lot of (the) flames that have come up, a lot of this stuff could have been diverted. Now, would people still have a problem with it? Yes. But I think with the truth coming out, then you wouldn’t have as much distrust.”
Mattingly noted that despite the violent nationwide riots that erupted over Taylor’s death, her case ultimately has no resemblance to that of deceased black Minnesota criminal suspect George Floyd and deceased black Georgia burglary suspect Ahmaud Arberey.
“[T]his is not relatable to George Floyd. This is nothing like that. It’s not Ahmaud Arbery. It’s nothing like it. These are two totally different types of incidences. It’s not a race thing like people wanna try to make it to be. It’s not. This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It’s nothing like that,” he maintained.
He added, “This had nothing to do with race. Nothing at all.”
Indeed, a mountain of evidence has emerged showing that Breonna had been cohorting with a notorious drug dealer prior to her death. The drug dealer had been her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) October 8, 2020
On the day of the shooting, Mattingly’s team approached Taylor’s home with a warrant to search it for drugs. After knocking multiple times and receiving no answer, they burst into the home and were fired upon. In response, they fired back, killing Taylor.
She and her new boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had allegedly been lying in bed watching a movie when Mattingly’s team had knocked on their door. What happened next remains unclear.
Walker has claimed he’d fired in self-defense because the officers hadn’t responded when he’d asked “who’s there.” However, ballistic evidence from the scene seems to contradict this claim.
“A Kentucky State Police ballistics report does not support state Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s assertion that Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot a police officer the night she was killed,” the Courier Journal reported last month.
“The KSP report says that ‘due to limited markings of comparative value,’ the 9mm bullet that hit and exited Mattingly was neither ‘identified nor eliminated as having been fired’ from Walker’s gun.”
Days after this report’s publication, audio from grand jury proceedings related to the Taylor case was released, and in them another one of the involved officers — Brett Hankison — could be heard telling investigators that Walker had initially claimed Taylor had “shot at us.”
“Brett Hankison said in a March interview heard by the grand jury that Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, told him that Taylor was dead. Hankinson said that Walker said ‘she was the one who shot at us.’ Walker later confessed that he was the one who opened fire,” the AP reported around the start of the month.
It’s unclear which story is true.
Watch some of Mattingly’s reportedly 4-hour interview below:
Regardless of the still-unclear circumstances, Mattingly declared during Tuesday’s interview that there had been no intent on his or his partners’ part to hurt Taylor.
“She didn’t deserve to die. She didn’t do anything to deserve a death sentence,” he said.
But, he added, while every officer’s biggest fear is shooting an innocent person, things sometimes happen, especially when someone chooses the criminal lifestyle.
“There’s a reason the police were there that night. And if you’re law-abiding citizen, the only contact you’ll probably ever have with the police is running into them in Thorntons or if you get a speeding ticket. Other than that, unless you know them, you’re not really dealing with the police,” he said.
“And I think that’s part of the problem because the people who say there’s all this injustice and all that are the people who deal with the police in negative connotations. So naturally, their view of the police is going to be skewed and not good.”
Regarding Taylor’s situation in particular, he said, “What we were being was someone who’s defending their lives against gunfire coming at them.”
Gunfire that he suspects may have been purposeful.
You don’t have “that loud of a knock, that loud of an announce, that long — and people not know it’s police,” he said.
“Everybody knows the police knock. When that took place for that long — and they had that much time to think and react and formulate a plan — I don’t know he didn’t hear us. We were talking 20 feet away through a thin metal door. So, my opinion, yes, [they] heard [the knock]. But I’m not the end-all, be-all.”
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