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Officer involved in raid on Breonna Taylor's home speaks out for first time

Officer involved in raid on Breonna Taylor's home speaks out for first time
Posted at 5:05 AM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 09:03:57-04

In an interview with ABC News and the Louisville Courier-Journal, one of the Louisville police officers involved in the raid that led to the death of Breonna Taylor claims his team knocked on Taylor's door six times and said the fatal shooting could have been avoided if officers did not allow time for Taylor and her boyfriend to come to the door.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly spoke with ABC News and the Courier-Journal for two hours on Tuesday — the same day a grand juror spoke publicly about the case for the first time. Mattingly said police officers believed that Taylor was the only person in the apartment when they served the no-knock warrant on her apartment.

"We expected that Breonna was going to be there by herself. That's why we gave her so much time. And in my opinion, that was a mistake," Mattingly told ABC News.

He said if he could have done anything differently that evening, officers would have breached Taylor's apartment without giving time for her or her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, to react.

"What would I have done differently, the answer to that is simple now that I've been thinking about it. 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."

Mattingly claims officers involved in the raid knocked on Taylor's door six different times.

"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 also claims that at one point, they "repeatedly" yelled "police, search warrant!"

Walker and 11 other people interviewed by police said they did not hear officers identify themselves. Only one other person in the apartment complex corroborated police claims that they identified themselves.

Walker says he assumed the police officers were intruders and grabbed his gun to protect himself and Taylor. When officers breached Taylor's door, Walker fired at them. Mattingly was the only officer injured during the shooting.

"As soon as I felt the smack on my leg and the heat, I — boom, boom — returned four return shots, four shots," he said. "I reached down and felt my leg. I could feel a handful of blood and the heat — I thought my femoral artery. I said I can't stand up because I'm going to pump the blood out if I keep pushing forward."

Mattingly also took issue with Walker's claim that he fired a "warning shot," saying that his stance indicated that he was ready to fire at officers.

Mattingly was able to limp out of the apartment and was later taken to the hospital. He didn't learn of Taylor's death until he got out of surgery the next day.

"My first question was, 'Did she have a gun? Was she a shooter?' Because I didn't know what took place after I moved out," Mattingly said.

"I feel for her. I hurt for her mother and for her sisters," he added. "It's not just a passing 'Oh, this is part of the job, we did it and move on.' It's not like that. I mean Breonna Taylor is now attached to me for the rest of my life. And that's not again, 'Woe is me.' That's me feeling for them. That's me having a heart and a soul, going as a parent, 'How do you move on?' I don't know. I don't want to experience it."

Taylor's case has become a touchstone case across the country amid a summer of unrest. For months, protests took place nightly in Louisville as demonstrators called for justice.

Mattingly told ABC News that despite calls for police reform to address questions of systemic racism, Taylor's shooting had nothing to do with her race.

"It's not a race thing like people want to try to make it out 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," Mattingly said. "This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It's nothing like that."

Mattingly and his fellow officers will not face homicide charges in connection with Taylor's death. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who led the investigation, claims officers were justified in their actions because Walker fired at them.

Mattingly's interview came the same day that a grand juror in Taylor's case spoke publicly and claimed that he and others on the grand jury were not given the opportunity to consider homicide charges against the police officers.

Only one police officer, Brett Hankison, faces charges in connection with the case. He's charged with endangering Taylor's neighbors by firing his gun at the building.

In the days leading up to the grand jury decision, Mattingly sent an email to hundreds of his coworkers criticizing the city's mayor and other officials for their handling of the case.

"It's sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized," Mattingly said in the email. "Put that aside for a while keep your focus and do your jobs that you are trained and capable of doing."