One of the cops involved in Breonna Taylor’s killing has claimed she’d still be alive if her boyfriend hadn’t had time to arm himself for a gunfight with police after they ‘announced themselves’ at their door, and said bodycam footage of the incident would exonerate him and his fellow officers.
Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was one of three cops who descended on Taylor’s apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, in March with a no-knock warrant to search her home in connection with a drugs probe into her ex-boyfriend.
He insists that he and his fellow officers did announce themselves when they arrived at Taylor’s apartment, that they knocked and that they opened fire only after Taylor’s boyfriend – Kenneth Walker – did. She was killed in the crossfire.
In an interview with ABC that will air in full on Wednesday, he tells his story for the first time since Taylor’s death sparked global outrage and more claims of police brutality and racism across America.
In a new part of the interview that was aired on Good Morning America on Wednesday morning, Mattingly – who previously said Taylor’s death was ‘nothing like’ the killing of George Floyd – also said that Floyd was ‘no model citizen’.
He also told interviewer Michael Strahan, who is black, that ‘good cops’ do not racial profile but they criminally profile, and said just because black people may feel that police hate them or fear them because of their race, it is not ‘necessarily real’ all of the time.
His comments incensed Strahan who, at times during the interview pushed back and told him he was ‘very difficult’ to listen to.
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Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly said on Wednesday that Breonna Taylor would still be alive if her boyfriend hadn’t had time to arm himself
Taylor pictured with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker above. The pair were in bed when cops descended on her home. The cops say they announced themselves, Walker says they didn’t
Recalling the raid which happened in the middle of the night on March 13, Mattingly insisted he and the other cops there all yelled out to announce themselves.
‘We’re yelling, “police search warrant, open the door if you’re there”.
‘The lieutenant – everybody is yelling – all seven of us. This is typical, how it goes every time,’ he said.
It’s unclear what he meant when he said there was ‘seven’ of them there. Reports from the incident suggested it was Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove who were there and that SWAT teams arrived later.
‘Maybe [Kenneth Walker] didn’t hear [us],’ he said.
Once they forced their way into the apartment, he said his eyes were met by the barrel of Walker’s gun.
‘My eyes just focused on it. He wasn’t shooting at the ground a warning shot – he’s pushing out at me. I saw his gun, our postures were the same,’ he said, discrediting Walker’s claim that he’d pulled his weapon to try to fire a warning shot and not harm anyone.
Interviewer Michael Strahan was visibly uncomfortable with much of what the cop told him during their tense interview
What happened over the next ’12 seconds’, Mattingly said, was a series of rapid fire – ‘boom, boom, boom, boom’.
He was shot in the leg by Walker and fell to the ground. He fired his own gun, he said, four times. It’s still unclear how many rounds the other two cops fired and exactly who killed Breonna.
She died in the hail of bullets.
Mattingly insists that had the cops gone ahead without announcing themselves, Breonna would still be alive because it wouldn’t have given Walker time to retrieve his gun.
‘We would have served a no knock or done the same thing, four to five seconds, not give people time to form a plan. If that had happened, she’d be alive.
‘One hundred percent, if we’d just stormed in, she’d be alive,’ he said.
He also insists that if there were bodycam footage of the incident, the cops would be immediately exonerated.
‘The incident would still happen but it would have been shown on camera. This wouldn’t be an issue – this wouldn’t be a case. Michael Strahan would never know about this case,’ he said.
Mattingly said while he doesn’t want to try to garner sympathy, he too is a ‘victim’ in the case. He said it has been ‘excruciating’ staying silent for months while celebrities, politicians and millions of others have called him a racist murderer, and says his family has been forced into hiding.
‘I was in a victim in this as well, my family has been a victim.
‘They’ve gone into hiding, we’ve had death threats.
Det. Brett Hankison (left) has been charged with wanton endangerment for accidentally shooting into a neighbor’s home. Neither Mattingly nor Myles Cosgrove (right) has been charged
‘When someone sits back from their mansion and accuses someone of being a murderer, a dirty cop – that does affect you,’ he said.
When asked about whether there was racism in the Louisville Police Department, he said: ‘ ‘There are people who stir things up and make it more that – when you’re dealing with a criminal element… good police don’t racial profile you criminal profile.
‘I’m not scared of you because you’re black.’
Strahan interjected: ‘But that’s how black people feel.’
Mattingly pushed back: ‘But does that make it real?’
Strahan, arguing, said: ‘If I feel it then it’s real,’ to which Mattingly shot back: ‘Not necessarily.’
He went on to say there was a difference between criminal profiling and racial profiling, and that the former has nothing to do with race.
Mattingly also said that while he didn’t deserve to die, George Floyd was ‘not a model citizen’
‘Criminal profiling is when you get to know an area, you can tell by people’s demeanors, people don’t make eye contact they swerve off…there’s diff elements of people’s psychological game that you can tell when you’ve done something wrong.
‘It’s a feeling that goes along with what you’ve experienced, in the area what should and shouldn’t be.’
He also said that while what happened to George Floyd was ‘horrible’ and ‘wrong’ and that the cops involved deserved to be charged, Floyd – who had fentanyl in his system when he died ‘wasn’t a model citizen’ and ‘may have died of an overdose’.
‘What happened to him was tragic, horrible. Everybody looked at that and said wrong, bad, disgusting… even if he died of an overdose.– I’m very careful
‘Not to judge the case, in my opinion was the right call [that the cops were charged]…. George Floyd was not a model citizen.’
‘I didn’t say he deserved it I just demonized it, it’s horrible.’
In a direct plea to Breonna’s mother, he said that while he was sorry for her death, police reform ‘would not bring her back’, nor would ‘any amount of money in the world.’
The Taylor family was awarded $12million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Louisville.
‘Ms Palmer, nobody should ever have to go through what you’re feeling, nobody can sympathize or feel what you’re feeling unless you’ve lost a child.
‘I wish this hadn’t take place, no amount of money in the world will change it police reform won’t bring her back.
‘I hope you can find it in your heart to have some peace. I pray everybody learns something from this,’ he said.
Only one cop – Brett Hankison – has been charged over Taylor’s death.
A grand jury was shown evidence on the case but declined to press charges.
Now, some of the jurors involved say they didn’t feel they were given all of the evidence by prosecutors and that they didn’t feel they had the option to charge anyone with more than wanton endangerment.