An internal report from the police department that hired the officers who shot and killed emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor revealed that officers did in fact violate department rules when they fired at Taylor, according to the report initially discovered by the Louisville Courier-Journal. Taylor, 26, was sleeping when officers executing a no-knock drug warrant smashed in her door after midnight and shot her at least eight times in her Louisville home. Even though the person cops were allegedly searching for was already in police custody, they have maintained that they opened fire blindly in Taylor’s home because her boyfriend Kenneth Walker fired first and hit Sgt. Jon Mattingly with a single shot.
Sgt. Andrew Meyer, an investigator with the Louisville Metro Police Department, said in a memo dated Dec. 4 that CNN obtained that even though Walker fired at officers, believing they were intruders, two of the three officers who shot Taylor didn’t correctly identify their target. Meyer wrote that officers “experienced fear, tunnel vision, and adrenaline” and “took a total of thirty-two shots, when the provided circumstances made it unsafe to take a single shot.”
“This is how the wrong person was shot and killed,” Meyer wrote. He said none of the shots Detective Myles Cosgrove, Mattingly, or Brett Hankison, another officer on the scene, took were safe. “The officers could not safely take the shots given these circumstances,” Meyer determined. “The officers did not safely take the shots and Ms. Taylor was struck and killed.”
Mattingly was not one of the officers who failed to correctly identify a target. He identified Walker as a target but at Taylor’s expense, the report determined. “Ms. Taylor’s safety should have been considered prior to Sergeant Mattingly returning fire at the threat, Mr. Walker,” the investigator wrote in the report.
The official added: “Withdrawing to cover would have created a higher degree of safety for the officers than engaging, because even provided the shots were accurate enough to strike the intended target, it would not mean the threat is immediately disrupted.”
Detective Joshua Jaynes, who secured the drug warrant, and Cosgrove, who fired the shot the FBI determined killed Taylor, were officially fired in January for their roles in the deadly shooting, the Louisville Metro Police Department confirmed to media on Jan. 6. Hankison was also fired, but Mattingly, who shot Taylor five times, was only reassigned to administrative work. Although none of the officers will be charged in Taylor’s death, Hankison is expected to face charges of wanton endangerment at trial next year, reportedly for firing into neighboring apartments, CNN reported.