A Louisville Metro Police detective who is facing termination for the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor sent an email to his fellow officers late Tuesday night lambasting the department’s leadership for succumbing to “political pressures.”
Myles Cosgrove, the officer the FBI concluded fired the shot that killed Taylor, 26, in her apartment March 13, wrote in an email addressed to the entire department that LMPD’s leaders “aren’t afraid to perform hatchet jobs on you either.”
“Think about that the next time you put on the uniform and badge,” Cosgrove said. “For those of you still doing real police work, it’s just a matter of time till you (too) will be a sacrificial lamb. I plead with you, do nothing.”
The email was sent from Cosgrove’s official Metro Government account to the group email for the Louisville Metro Police Department.
LMPD Spokesman John Bradley confirmed the email was sent from Cosgrove’s address, but added, “Who wrote or sent it would be conjecture.”
Cosgroves attorney did not return a request for comment late Tuesday night.
Cosgrove, an officer with LMPD since 2005, is facing termination after interim Chief Yvette Gentry found him in violation of the department’s use of force and body camera policies. He has been on administrative reassignment since the March 13 shooting.
Cosgrove received a letter from Gentry last week saying he failed to “properly identify a target” when he fired 16 rounds into Taylor’s apartment.
Cosgrove fired after another officer, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, was shot in the thigh by Taylor’s boyfriend after the officers used a battering ram to forcibly enter the apartment while trying to serve a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation.
In the email, sent just before 10:30 p.m., Cosgrove wrote he’s “being terminated due to the political pressures involved with the Breonna Taylor investigation.”
Cosgrove had a meeting with Gentry on Monday, but the department has not announced his employment status since. Detective Joshua Jaynes, who procured the search warrant for Taylor apartment, also faces termination for allegations of lying on the warrant affidavit.
Former Detective Brett Hankison was fired for recklessly shooting into Taylor’s apartment that night. He has pleaded not guilty to three counts of wanton endangerment for bullets that went into an occupied apartment next to Taylor’s.
Gentry is an interim chief and the third chief to helm LMPD since Taylor’s death. A permanent chief is being announced Wednesday morning.
“It seems our higher-ranking officials will support us in our efforts to protect ourselves and others, just as long as there isn’t a group of protestors or political pressures demanding otherwise,” Cosgrove wrote. “And then with the slightest bit of political and social pressure, they take away your job, your honor and your security without question.”
Cosgrove also described the “turmoil” his family has faced since Taylor’s death became a national news story and trending topic on social media.
“We’ve faced an unrelenting string of death threats,” he wrote. “We were forced to relocate multiple times, changing homes, changing schools, and more.”
Mattingly and his family have faced similar threats, they previously told The Courier Journal in October, and the department has had to ramp up security for the officers as a result.
Cosgrove also ridiculed the news media that “continuously leaves out important details with regards to this case due to their agenda” and blamed social media for “even more blatant lies.” He did not specify what details had been omitted or what lies had been shared.
“My reputation has been completely dismantled,” he wrote. “… Our future seems uncertain. Because of the decisions made by your ‘leaders,’ my family is now left without health insurance during a global pandemic, my retirement benefits are up in the air, and I’m now tasked with gaining employment despite the damage done to my reputation by those who know nothing about what took place on that night.
“Again, think about that the next time you put on the uniform and badge.”
Cosgrove’s family has started a GiveSendGo fundraiser for him, which has raised nearly $60,000 of its $75,000 goal.
Cosgrove said officers are now seen as the enemy.
“You will be demonized, while criminals will be canonized,” he wrote. “You will make the smaller paycheck, while others settle with the city and profit millions.”
He closed by saying he wished LMPD provided more support for its officers and assuring them that “despite the loud, radicalized minority,” the community supports police.
“Because of the lack of their leadership and support, your job has become even more dangerous,” he wrote. “We pay the price. I pay the price …You know this has nothing to do with what others want to twist it into.
“You know we do what we do because we value human life, not because we disregard it.”
Mattingly also previously sent a late-night email to his coworkers in the aftermath of Taylor’s death arguing that city leaders were making decisions about police “for their own gain and to cover their asses.”
He wrote in a six-paragraph email sent at 2:09 a.m. on Sept. 23, the morning it was announced that no officers would face charges for shooting her but one would be charged for bullets that traveled next door, that officers “did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night” when they fired their weapons.
Referring to anticipated protests from the grand jury’s decision, Mattingly wrote he wished he could be with fellow officers.
“I’ll be praying for your safety,” he wrote. “Remember you are just a pawn in the Mayors political game. I’m proof they do not care about your or your family, and you are replaceable.”
In her letter, Gentry wrote that had Cosgrove “evaluated the threat accurately,” he “would have likely stopped firing once the gunfire had stopped.”
“The shots you fired went in three distinctly different directions, demonstrating that you did not identify a specific target,” Gentry wrote. “Rather, you fired in a manner consistent with suppressive fire, which is in direct contradiction to our training, values and policy.”
Cosgrove told LMPD Public Integrity Unit investigators after the shooting that he fired at a “distorted shadowy figure” inside the apartment and at a “distorted shadowy mask.”
Gentry wrote in the pre-termination letter that Cosgrove failed to describe target isolation or target identification.
University of Louisville professor Russell Weaver told The Courier Journal that LMPD would face an “uphill battle” in terminating Cosgrove, should he appeal it to the police merit board.
Since Walker fired first, Weaver said he sees no issue with the use of deadly force in response by officers. To fire him, then, the department would have to argue it was “excessive” or “too indiscriminate.”
“And what you’re going to have to really argue is, it’s so bad that it justifies the termination,” he said. “That seems to me to be kind of an uphill battle.”