Two investigators who conducted an internal probe into the death of Breonna Taylor determined the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved should not have fired shots into her apartment.
According to documents obtained by ABC News, Sgt. Andrew Meyer from the department’s Professional Standards Unit determined that the three officers should have held their fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a shot.
Meyer’s report was supported by Lt. Jeff Artman, ABC reported.
“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 said the officers involved in the raid that resulted in Taylor’s death — Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — violated the department’s use-of-force policy when they ignored the risk of hitting someone who did not pose a threat, ABC reported. Meyer said the deadly force should have been used only against Walker after he fired a shot.
However, Meyer wrote that Mattingly “should not have taken the shot” when Walker was not a clear, isolated target, having ducked into a bedroom at the end of a dimly lit hallway.
“Ms. Taylor’s safety should have been considered before he [Mattingly] returned fire,” Meyer added
This assessment contradicts what has been said by others in Kentucky law enforcement, ABC noted. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said that Cosgrove and Mattingly were justified in using force because Walker fired a shot.
“Had the officers did as they were trained, they would have retreated,” Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor’s family, told local station WHAS-TV. “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,” Baker added, referring to former interim Louisville Police Chief Yvette Gentry’s decision to not discipline Mattingly.
Gentry retired in January after former Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields was appointed to fill her position.
“I fired people that some believe should have been suspended, I reprimanded people some people (said) should have been exonerated and I overturned what was believed was not appropriate for the situation,” Gentry said in a statement released on Friday, adding, “I still believe in my soul Breonna Taylor should be alive.”
Both Hankison and Cosgrove were fired from the department for violating its policies. Only Hankison was charged for his actions in the raid on Taylor’s apartment, though not for her death. He was charged with multiple counts of wanton endangerment for firing three shots into a wall that connected to the apartment next door.
Mattingly, who is writing a book on the incident, was not fired, though he informed the department in April that he would be retiring. His last day will be June 1.