Louisville police officer defends his role in Breonna Taylor case in mass email to department

Protesters participate in the Good Trouble Tuesday march for Breonna Taylor, on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Louisville, Ky.

One of the Louisville Metro Police officers who fired into Breonna Taylor's home the night she was killed sent a mass email to the department early Tuesday defending his actions and slamming the city's leadership, his attorney confirmed to CNN.

In the email, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly told his colleagues they "do not deserve to be in this position" where "thugs" are allowed to "get into your face and yell, curse and degrade you" and if officers "make a mistake during the most stressful times in your career, the department and FBI ... go after you for civil rights violations."

He also defended his actions the night Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was fatally shot by police. Mattingly and two other officers broke down the door to her apartment while executing a late-night, "no-knock" warrant in a narcotics investigation on March 13. Mattingly was shot by Taylor's boyfriend, and then police opened fire, killing Taylor.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's office is investigating possible criminal charges against the officers involved, and an announcement is expected sometime soon. The city of Louisville and its police department have declared a state of emergency ahead of an expected decision.

"Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night. It's sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized," Mattingly wrote.

Further, Mattingly criticized city and police leaders, who he mocked as "pencil pushers."

"I'm proof they do not care about you or your family, and you are replaceable," he wrote.

The email, sent just after 2 a.m., was first made public by Vice News correspondent Roberto Aram Ferdman.

Mattingly was shot during search

Police believed Taylor was home alone when she was in fact accompanied by her boyfriend, who was legally armed, according to a CNN review of the shooting. That miscalculation, along with the decision to press forward with a high-risk, forced-entry raid under questionable circumstances, contributed to the deadly outcome.

Mattingly, Det. Myles Cosgrove and then-officer Brett Hankison used a battering ram to force open the door to her apartment, the CNN review found.

Mattingly told investigators he entered the apartment and felt the heat of a bullet in his leg. The round, fired by Taylor's boyfriend, severed his femoral artery. He and the two other officers returned fire, according to the CNN review.

Taylor was killed in the barrage of shots from the three officers.

CNN affiliate WAVE 3 News reported Mattingly confirmed that he sent the email.

Mattingly's attorney Kent Wicker confirmed the email in a statement to CNN on Tuesday.

"Sgt. Mattingly sent an email to his colleagues last evening, expressing his support for them and their work in these difficult times. As you will recall, he was shot and severely injured while serving this warrant," Wicker said.

"Like our entire community, he is hopeful that this process moves forward quickly, and that his fellow officers and the people of Louisville remain safe," Wicker added.

When asked about the email during a press conference Tuesday morning, LMPD Interim Chief Robert Schroeder told reporters that "it's a little premature to talk about that. It's something developing, so we'll have something out later."

Mattingly is one of six LMPD officers currently under investigation for their actions the night Taylor was killed.

The LMPD's professional standards unit is investigating Cosgrove and Mattingly, two of the officers who fired into Taylor's home; Det. Joshua Jaynes, who secured a search warrant for Taylor's home prior to her death; as well as detectives Tony James, Michael Campbell and Michael Nobles, LMPD spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington told CNN on Tuesday.

The internal investigation will examine if the six officers violated any police policies, he added.

Taylor family reacts to investigation

Campbell and an attorney representing Mattingly declined to comment on the internal investigation. Mattingly's attorney, Todd McMurtry, has previously defended his client's conduct.

"Sgt. Mattingly was following orders of superior officers, was not involved in the planning process of the arrest, and at all times followed established police procedures," he said, per previous CNN reporting.

Attorneys for detectives Cosgrove, Jaynes and Nobles did not respond to CNN's requests for comment. An attorney for Det. James could not be immediately identified.

Officer Hankison was fired in June for his role in Taylor's death. Louisville Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder said Hankison "wantonly and blindly fired ten rounds" into Taylor's apartment, which Schroeder said violated standard operating procedure and "displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life."

Hankison is appealing his termination, and his attorney has declined comment.

Lonita Baker, one of Taylor's family attorneys, issued a statement in response to news of the internal investigation.

"We are happy to see that LMPD has started the process of an internal professional standards unit investigation. It is our belief that several policies were violated by the involved officers and they should be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination," Baker said.

She encouraged police to carry out the investigation on a faster timetable than that of Tae-Ahn Lea, an 18-year-old who filed a lawsuit alleging police misconduct in an August 2018 incident.

"We encourage LMPD not to prolong this investigation as we have seen in previous instances like that of Tae-Ahn Lea's, which has not been concluded though the actions occurred over two years ago," Baker said.

CNN's Mark Morales, Aaron Cooper and Alec Snyder contributed to this report.

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