Louisville Police Sergeant Jon Mattingly broke his silence on Breonna Taylor's death and the events leading up to it in an exclusive interview with ABC News and the Courier Journal on Tuesday (October 20). On March 13, Mattingly and his police colleagues executed a warrant for Taylor's ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, at her apartment, ending in her shooting death and kicking off demonstrations nationwide. ABC News said Mattingly was born and raised in Louisville and is a 20-year veteran of the Louisville Metro Police Department.
The 47-year-old sergeant said he thinks about what could've been done differently, including how officers stormed her apartment without giving her or her boyfriend Kenneth Walker time to answer their allegedly repeated knocks. "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," Mattingly told Good Morning America co-anchor Michael Strahan. "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 said they expected Taylor to be alone in the apartment. "That's why we gave her so much time. And in my opinion that was a mistake," he said. The officer added that they were not expecting Walker to be in the apartment as well with a licensed handgun. Mattingly claims they knocked six times and waited for a response when they thought someone was coming to the door. Then, Detective Mike Nobles rammed the apartment door open. Mattingly said he was the first to enter the apartment.
"As soon as I turned the corner, my eyes went straight to the barrel of this gun. I could see the tip of it. And my eyes just focused in on it as soon as I saw it," he said, adding that "everything happened in milliseconds." He said he heard a shot and immediately felt a burning sensation in his leg. This prompted him to return fire along with other officers. Mattingly added that before he pulled himself away from the scene and continued hearing gunfire. Walker and 11 other witnesses claimed the officers did not announce themselves before barging into the apartment. He thought the police were invaders and shot back at them.
Taylor was shot multiple times in the process. Mattingly said he expressed sympathy for Taylor's family, and that this situation is something all police officers dread.
"I feel for her. I hurt for her mother and for her sisters," he said, who is father of four who recently became a grandfather. "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."
Mattingly said he didn't learn about Taylor's death until he got out of surgery the next day. The sergeant was facing charges alongside Det. Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, but a grand jury decided to only charge Hankison with wanton endangerment for shooting in neighboring apartments. Kentucky State Attorney General Daniel Cameron claimed the officers were justified in their use of deadly force since Walker shot first.
The sergeant claimed that the protests may have been avoided if officials immediately released accurate information about what happened on March 13. He also said the attorneys representing Taylor's family and Walker "fueled the fury" and misinformation. The white officer added that Taylor's death had nothing to do with race, and that her death was simply a matter of circumstances. "This is not relatable to George Floyd. This is nothing like that," Mattingly said. "It's not Ahmaud Arbery. It's nothing like it. These are two totally different types of incidences."
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