Breonna Taylor Case: Det. Mattingly Says EMT Would Be Alive if Cops Just Stormed Into Apartment
"We expected that Breonna was going to be there by herself. That's why we gave her so much time. And in my opinion that was a mistake," Mattingly, 47, told ABC News.
One of the detectives who was involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor has broken his silence and spoke on camera for the first time since the March 13 incident where the 26-year-old EMT was killed in her home in Louisville, Kentucky.
Detective Jon Mattingly spoke to ABC News’ Michael Strahan and Louisville Courier-Journal about what he says occurred the night Taylor was killed and told the news anchor that if things were done differently she would be alive today.
Det. Mattingly, who was one of seven officers on the scene that night, was serving a no-knock warrant to search Taylor’s apartment. He says he knocked multiple times on the door and then said it was the police despite Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, and 11 neighbors who say they never heard the police announce themselves.
"We expected that Breonna was going to be there by herself. That's why we gave her so much time. And in my opinion that was a mistake," Mattingly, 47, told Strahan.
Mattingly says that Taylor would be alive today if the cops just stormed into her apartment and not knocked at all.
"What would I have done differently, the answer to that is simple now that I've been thinking about it, 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. 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."
In documentation previously obtained by the Louisville Courier-Journal, police were authorized to carry out a “no-knock” warrant on Taylor’s Louisville home on March 13 as part of a narcotics investigation of a person who lived in a home 10 miles away. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were the investigation's target. Police had suspected, though, that Taylor’s home was used to receive drugs. No drugs were found in the home.
Authorities said they identified themselves, despite the “no-knock” warrant. Police said the officers were “immediately” met by gunfire when they entered Taylor and Walker's home, at which point they returned fire. Walker is a licensed gun owner.
Walker has maintained that his gun was pointed at the ground when he fired the single shot, Mattingly says otherwise and that Walker "wasn’t shooting at the ground."
"He was in a stretched out, two hands -- it’s called a Weaver stance, where your legs are apart. He’s pushed out with two hands, looking straight at me," Mattingly said. "I saw his gun. Our postures were the same looking at each other when he fired that shot."
ABC News and Louisville Courier-Journal also interviewed Walker who said he did what he had to do to “protect Breonna, protect myself.”
Walker called 911 during the ordeal and he was informed he'd shot an officer. He was initially charged with attempted murder, but his charges were later dropped after he said he shot in self-defense thinking he and Taylor were victims of a home invasion.
Mattingly said that Walker shot him in the thigh.
"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," Mattingly said and added that "everything happened in milliseconds.”
"As soon as I felt the smack on my leg and the heat, I -- boom, boom -- returned four return shots, four shots," he said, adding that he fired two additional rounds as the shooter rushed into a bedroom.
He said he took cover on the ground and within seconds the gunfire stopped.
"I reached down and felt my leg. I could feel a handful of blood and the heat -- I thought my femoral artery. I said I can't stand up because I'm going to pump the blood out if I keep pushing forward," Mattingly recalled. "I remember I scooted back and sat on my bottom and I scooted my gun out for some reason. I let go of it. Then I thought real quick, 'What am I doing? I can't let go of my gun.' I grabbed my gun and I pulled it back in and I yelled, I said, 'Man, I got shot in my femoral.'"
Mattingly said he had enough strength, despite being shot, to get himself out of the apartment. He said he didn’t learn of Taylor’s demise until the next day when he was out of surgery.
"My first question was, 'Did she have a gun? Was she a shooter?' Because I didn't know what took place after I moved out," Mattingly said.
He said “it was tragic. It's horrible,” when asked how he felt after learning the news of her death, "Again, that's a situation that you dread, that you pray never happens.”
In the wake of Taylor’s death, he says he and his family have received death threats and said someone threatened to kidnap his son.
In the lengthy interview with Strahan, Detective Mattingly said what happened to Taylor was not about race.
"It's not a race thing like people want to try to make it out to be. It's not,” he said. “This is a point where we were doing our job, we gave too much time when we go in, I get shot, we returned fire. This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It's nothing like that."
Following Mattingly’s interview on “Good Morning America” Wednesday, Attorney Benjamin Crump who represents Taylor’s estate said in a statement on Twitter,
“No remorse for Breonna Taylor’s murder? In his interview with@michaelstrahan, Jonathan Mattingly said HE is the victim (not Bre) and constantly tried to justify her death! An INNOCENT Black woman was killed in her own home and he refuses to take responsibility for his actions!”
In a statement to Inside Edition Digital about Mattingly’s interview, Sgt. John Bradley of the LMPD said, “The views and opinions expressed by those involved in the interview(s) you mention do not necessarily express the views, opinions, or position of the Louisville Metro Police Department. As we were not involved in the production of these interviews, we have no access to, nor knowledge of the entire context of the interview. If copies of the unedited interviews are provided to us, we would be willing to consider reviewing it and perhaps providing comment.”
"Whoever shot her is responsible for her death. Whoever came with that person ... they're responsible," Walker said. "Whoever allowed them to come there ... they're responsible,” Walker told ABC News / Louisville Courier-Journal. "They gotta live with that and feel that every day."
In the wake of Taylor's death, the city has banned "no-knock" warrants.
In June, Officer Brett Hankison was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department. He has also been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for bullets that hit an apartment of one of Taylor’s neighbors. He is currently contesting his termination and has pleaded not guilty. Officers Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove whose bullets hit Taylor have not been charged. Kentucky’s attorney general has stated that their use of force was justified because Walker fired first.
In September, Taylor’s estate was awarded $12 million by the city in damages. The mayor also announced sweeping police reform.
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