Internal Report: Police Shouldn’t Have Fired Into Breonna Taylor Home

Internal Report: Police Shouldn't Have Fired Into Breonna Taylor Home a protester holds up a placard that reads say her name breonna taylor (Dreamstime)

By Jeremy Frankel | Sunday, 09 May 2021 09:28 PM

A new report from 2 investigators who probed the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor last year showed that none of the officers involved in serving the narcotics warrants at Taylor's apartment should have fired their weapons, but the findings were contradicted by senior officials in the Louisville Metro Police Department, ABC reported.

The documents obtained by ABC News state, Sgt. Andrew Meyer of the police department's Professional Standards Unit determined in a December preliminary report, the officers should have held their fire after Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot one of them.

"They took a total of 32 shots, when the provided circumstances made it unsafe to take a single shot," Meyer wrote. "This is how the wrong person was shot and killed."

Meyer found, Louisville police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who was shot in the leg, and former officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison all "allegedly violated department use-of-force policy by ignoring the significant risk of hitting someone who did not pose a threat."

Meyer also wrote deadly force should only have been used against Walker, who was the one who fired at the officers and presented a deadly threat. Mattingly also should not have taken the shot because Walker was not a clear, isolated target after he ducked from the hallway to the bedroom, Meyer added, saying, "Ms. Taylor's safety should have been considered before [Mattingly] returned fire."

Meyer's lieutenant, Jeff Artman, supported the findings.

"Cosgrove fired the fatal shot, while Hankison, who was standing outside the apartment, fired 10 errant rounds through a sliding glass patio door that had the blinds drawn," ABC reported, citing an FBI ballistics report.

Hankison was the only officer indicted on criminal charges, with 3 counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree, because the bullets he fired breached a wall of a neighboring apartment. He pleaded not guilty in September and is awaiting trial.

Both Cosgrove and Hankison were fired for violating police department policy during the incident, while Mattingly was cleared by former interim Louisville police Chief Yvette Gentry, who wrote in a memo Mattingly identified Walker as an immediate threat, since Walker had a gun in his hand.

"Sergeant Mattingly's actions therefore need to be examined through the lens of what he reasonably believed at the time he discharged his weapon at an identified threat, at the end of a dimly lit hallway, after being shot himself," Gentry's memo read.

Gentry released a statement Friday defending her decision as interim police chief.

"I fired people that some believe should have been suspended, I reprimanded people, some people should have been exonerated, and I overturned what was believed was not appropriate for the situation," Gentry wrote. "I still believe in my soul Breonna Taylor should be alive."