A Louisville police officer who participated in the raid in which Breonna Taylor was shot to death said her death had nothing to do with race, but the reaction to it had everything to do with posturing and politics.
Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, 44, spoke to the Louisville Courier Journal and ABC News about the March 13 raid in which Taylor was killed, and reflected on the devastating and divisive protests that have dominated the city since then.
“This had nothing to do with race,” he told the newspaper. “Nothing at all.”
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“Because this is not relatable to George Floyd. This is nothing like that. It’s not Ahmaud Arbery. It’s nothing like it. These are two totally different types of incidences,” he said, citing high-profile cases in which black victims were killed: George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis; Ahmaud Arbery on Feb. 25 in Brunswick, Georgia.
“It’s not a race thing like people wanna try to make it to be. It’s not. This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It’s nothing like that,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly called Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing Taylor’s family “an agitator.”
Crump is also involved in the Floyd and Arbery cases.
Mattingly said Crump came to town, “stirring up all this stuff and then leaving your city. He didn’t have to pick the pieces up. He simply comes in, causes problems, throws out all these either direct lies, or these innuendos, and leaves people hanging, and then he disappears.”
Mattingly said that public misinformation about the case has included the idea that police were at the wrong apartment, their warrant did not include Taylor, and that she was lying in bed when she was killed.
Mattingly said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat, could have ensured the truth was laid before the public and cut short “false narratives” that emerged, but did not.
“A lot of (the) flames that have come up, a lot of this stuff could have been diverted. Now, would people still have a problem with it? Yes. But I think with the truth coming out, then you wouldn’t have as much distrust,” he said.
He said that advice to get the full story out to the public “fell on deaf ears, and politics, in my opinion, played a big part of it.”
“There’s a reason that the fire wasn’t put out early, that [Fischer] let it simmer until it got to where it was at, and then it got out of control, and I don’t think he knew how to reel it back in,” Mattingly told the Courier Journal.
Mattingly, who was wounded by a bullet fired by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said Taylor “didn’t deserve to die. She didn’t do anything to deserve a death sentence.”
However, Mattingly said, police weren’t there by “happenstance.”
“There’s a reason the police were there that night,” he said. “And if you’re law-abiding citizen, the only contact you’ll probably ever have with the police is running into them in Thorntons [gas station/convenience store] or if you get a speeding ticket. Other than that, unless you know them, you’re not really dealing with the police.
“And I think that’s part of the problem, because the people who say there’s all this injustice and all that are the people who deal with the police in negative connotations. So naturally, their view of the police is going to be skewed and not good.”
Mattingly said Walker, who has claimed he did not know the raid was being conducted by police when he opened fire on the officers, knew differently that night.
“Everybody knows the police knock,” Mattingly said. “When that took place for that long — and they had that much time to think and react and formulate a plan — I don’t know he didn’t hear us. We were talking 20 feet away through a thin metal door. So, my opinion, yes, he heard. But I’m not the end-all, be-all.”
Police fired 32 shots during the exchange, killing Taylor and wounding Walker. Despite mobs chanting for the officers involved to be charged with murder in connection with Taylor’s death, the only charges filed in the case were against former Detective Brett Hankison for firing three shots that passed through a wall into a neighboring apartment.
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