Breonna Taylor case: Grand jury recordings of decision released
A previous version of this video misstated the total length of recordings based on initial information provided by Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Metro Police Department is moving to fire two officers connected to the police shooting of Breonna Taylor — one who sought the no-knock search warrant for her apartment and a second who fired the fatal bullet.
Detective Joshua Jaynes received a pretermination letter Tuesday from interim Chief Yvette Gentry after a Professional Standards Unit investigation found he had violated department procedures for preparation for a search warrant execution and truthfulness, his attorney, Thomas Clay, said.
Detective Myles Cosgrove, who the FBI concluded fired the shot that killed Taylor, also received a pretermination letter, his attorney, Jarrod Beck, confirmed Tuesday evening.
It’s possible more officers involved in the raid or the connected narcotics investigation could face additional discipline. LMPD has not released its Professional Standards Unit investigation, which The Courier Journal previously reported included at least six officers.
In Jaynes’ pretermination letter, Gentry said he committed “extreme violations of our policies, which endangered others.”
“Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the department,” she wrote. “Your conduct has severely damaged the image our department has established within our community.”
Jaynes has a hearing with Gentry and her staff Thursday morning.
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“Detective Jaynes and I will show up for the pre-termination hearing to try to convince acting Chief Gentry that this action is unwarranted,” Clay said. “Jaynes did nothing wrong.”
Gentry’s decision comes just days before Mayor Greg Fischer has said he plans to announce his pick for Louisville’s new permanent police chief. Gentry, an interim chief, has said she didn’t want the position, and a nationwide search was launched this summer.
Lonita Baker, an attorney for Taylor’s family, said Gentry made the right move.
“I think it’s unfortunate that (former interim chief Robert) Schroeder and (former chief Steve) Conrad, both armed with the same information, did not, especially as it relates to Joshua Jaynes,” Baker said. “That is the same action they very well could have taken as well and chose not to do.”
Baker said it is her understanding that Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who also fired rounds that struck Taylor after he was shot, will not be terminated, which she called disappointing.
A spokesman for Mattingly’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network.
If Jaynes and Cosgrove are officially fired Thursday, they will be the second and third officers connected to Taylor’s death to be terminated by LMPD.
The department had previously fired Detective Brett Hankison in June for “blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment. He now faces three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment.
Jaynes was not present at Taylor’s South Louisville apartment during the shooting, but about 12 hours earlier, he secured a warrant with a “no-knock” clause from a Jefferson circuit judge.
In the letter, Gentry wrote that Jaynes lied twice when he swore the warrant to Circuit Judge Mary Shaw on March 12.
“Detective Jaynes lied when he swore ‘verified through a US Postal Inspector,'” Gentry wrote, before explaining that Jaynes actually spoke to Mattingly, who had spoken to Shively police.
Gentry also said Jaynes lied when he swore that Glover had been receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment.
“It is clear from this review there should have been better controls, supervision and scrutiny over this operation prior to the warrant being signed and executed,” Gentry wrote. “Because the operations plan was not completed properly a very dangerous situation was created for all parties involved. You were the officer who conducted the majority of the investigation; however, neither you, your direct supervisor, or his lieutenant were present or available at the scene when the search warrant was executed.”
Gentry said firing Jaynes was in the best interests of the department and community.
After Jaynes’ pretermination hearing, Gentry will decide the final disciplinary action. If that decision is to dismiss, demote or suspend him for more than 40 hours, then Jaynes would have the right to request a hearing from the Police Merit Board.
That board, as laid out in state law, has five members appointed by the mayor and approved by the Louisville Metro Council, who serve four-year terms. The board is tasked with reviewing police applicants and setting rules around promotions, qualifications and discipline for officers.
It can also review the chief’s disciplinary decisions, determining whether the action was “unjustified or unsupported by proper evidence.” Any hearing would be open to the public.
If it determines the chief’s decision was unjustified, it can set aside the chief’s order and create a new penalty.
Taylor was shot and killed by officers who forced their way into her apartment shortly before 1 a.m. March 13 searching for drugs and cash as part of a narcotics investigation centered on her ex-boyfriend.
Despite securing a warrant with a no-knock clause, officers say they knocked and announced their presence before ultimately using a battering ram on the apartment’s front door.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot as officers broke down the door to her apartment, reportedly striking Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh. Walker has repeatedly said he didn’t realize it was police knocking and didn’t hear an announcement.
Officials have said three officers — Cosgrove, Mattingly and Hankison — shot back, together firing 32 bullets throughout the apartment.
Taylor, 26, was shot six times and died in her hallway.
Four other officers — Mike Nobles, Mike Campbell, Tony James and Lt. Shawn Hoover — also were present at Taylor’s apartment for the raid but did not fire their weapons.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in September his investigation had concluded Cosgrove and Mattingly were justified in returning fire after Walker fired his weapon.