Law & the Courts

Louisville Police Move to Fire Two Detectives Connected To Breonna Taylor Shooting

Louisville police officers stand guard outside the police station after a grand jury decided not to bring homicide charges against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky., September 26, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

The Louisville, Ky. police department is looking to fire two detectives connected to the killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot and killed by police during a raid in March. 

The department gave Detective Joshua Jaynes a pre-termination letter from Interim Chief of Police Yvette Gentry on Tuesday, his attorney Thomas Clay told CNN. An attorney for Detective Myles Cosgrove told the outlet his client also received a pre-termination letter, though he declined to offer any additional information.

The letter to Jaynes included the department’s “present intention to terminate (his) employment” after reviewing of the findings of the “Professional Standards Investigation into the preparation and execution of the search warrant” at Taylor’s apartment.

Louisville police fatally shot Taylor during a botched drug raid in March. Officers were executing a search warrant shortly before 1 a.m. on March 13 when they used a battering ram to enter Taylor’s home. The officers claim they knocked and announced themselves to no response, but Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker says he did not hear police identify themselves.

Walker fired a shot when the door opened. He said he believed someone was breaking in.

Walker’s shot hit Sargeant Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh, police said, leading Mattingly and Detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison to fire 32 rounds in response, striking Taylor six times in her hallway, where she stood next to Walker. 

The letter says that Jaynes violated standard operating procedure for preparing a search warrant execution and was untruthful.

“Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department. Your conduct severely damaged the image our Department has established within our community,” Gentry wrote. “I cannot tolerate this type of conduct or untruthfulness by any member of the Louisville Metro Police Department.”

While a hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Clay told CNN he believes the hearing is a formality “because there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s already been a decision reached to terminate him without regard to what he has to say at this pre-termination hearing.”

“Detective Jaynes is being made a scapegoat through a whimsical and farcical investigation by the Louisville Metro Police Department,” Clay said. 

While Hankison was indicted in relation to Taylor’s case, it was not for the killing. Instead, he is charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for allegedly blindly shooting bullets in an apartment next to Taylor’s. Hankison, who has pleaded not guilty, was fired in June.

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