breonna taylor

2 More Cops Involved in Breonna Taylor's Death Receive Termination Letters

Louisville's police chief wants to fire an officer who shot Taylor and a detective who "lied" in the search warrant affidavit.


Two more Louisville, Kentucky, police officers who were involved in the drug investigation that led to Breonna Taylor's death last March received termination letters yesterday. Interim Police Chief Yvette Gentry said Detective Joshua Jaynes lied in the affidavit he used to obtain a no-knock search warrant for Taylor's apartment and was careless in planning the raid. Gentry also announced her intent to terminate Detective Myles Cosgrove, who according to the FBI fired the round that killed Taylor. The police chief said Cosgrove fired 16 rounds without properly identifying a target.

Police broke into Taylor's apartment around 12:40 a.m. on March 13, when the 26-year-old EMT and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were in bed. Walker, who said he believed the intruders were dangerous criminals, grabbed a handgun and fired a single round, which hit Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the leg. Mattingly, Cosgrove, and Detective Brett Hankison responded with a hail of 32 bullets, six of which struck Taylor. The case, which has been highlighted by Black Lives Matter, figured prominently in this year's protests against police abuse.

Hankison, who faces three charges of wanton endangerment, was tentatively dismissed in June because he blindly fired 10 rounds from outside Taylor's apartment. "Your actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired ten (10) rounds into the apartment," Robert Schroeder, Gentry's predecessor as interim police chief, wrote in his termination letter to Hankison. "These rounds created a substantial danger of death and serious injury to Breonna Taylor and the three occupants of the apartment next to Ms. Taylor's….I find your conduct a shock to the conscience. I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion." Hankison appealed his termination to the Police Merit Board, which "will hear his appeal when his criminal case is completed," the Louisville Courier-Journal reports.

Hankison and the other officers were serving a warrant obtained by Jaynes, who suspected that Taylor was involved in an ex-boyfriend's drug trafficking operation. In his search warrant affidavit, Jaynes falsely claimed he had "verified through a U.S. Postal Inspector" that the ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was receiving packages at Taylor's apartment. "Affiant knows through training and experience that it is not uncommon for drug traffickers to receive mail packages at different locations to avoid detection from law enforcement," Jaynes added. "Affiant believes through training and experience, that Mr. J. Glover may be keeping narcotics and/or proceeds from the sale of narcotics at [Taylor's apartment] for safe keeping."

As Gentry notes in her letter to Jaynes, the detective actually obtained the information about the packages from Mattingly, who in turn relied on a police officer in Shively, a Louisville suburb. "Detective Jaynes lied when he swore 'verified through a US Postal Inspector,'" Gentry writes. "Detective Jaynes did not have contact with a US Postal Inspector….Having an independent, third party verify information is powerful and compelling [evidence]. The inclusion of this in the affidavit as a direct verification was deceptive."

According to Taylor's family, police found no drugs or other evidence of criminal activity in her apartment, and Glover has insisted that Taylor was not involved in his criminal activity. A postal inspector in Louisville said there was nothing suspicious about Glover's packages, which reportedly contained clothing and shoes.

Jaynes apparently knew the packages were innocuous more than a month before the raid. In early February, Jaynes told an investigator with the Louisville Metro Police Department's Public Integrity Unit, Mattingly informed him that "your guy just gets Amazon or mail packages there." Jaynes added: "I remember 'Amazon' resonating in my head. I just remember the word Amazon. And it could have been mail packages or mail or just mail. I—I can't remember."

Gentry also faults Jaynes for failing to complete an operational plan before the fatal raid. "It is clear from this review that there should have been better controls, supervision and scrutiny over this operation prior to the warrant being signed and executed," she writes. "Because the operations plan was not completed properly a very dangerous situation was created for all parties involved. You were the officer who conducted the majority of the investigation; however, neither you, your direct supervisor, [nor] his lieutenant were present or available at the scene when the search warrant was executed."

New York Times reconstruction of the raid, which was not recorded by body cameras, highlights several examples of carelessness. The cops did not know that Taylor's sister lived in the apartment, and they did not anticipate that Walker would be there. They did not consult with SWAT officers, who learned about the raid only after the fact. Cosgrove and Mattingly both placed themselves in a "fatal funnel" that exposed them to the danger they cited to justify their use of deadly force. Thirty minutes went by before Taylor received medical attention.

Notwithstanding the no-knock warrant, which Jaynes obtained with boilerplate language that did not include any evidence specific to Taylor, the officers banged on the door—for 45 seconds to a minute, by their account, or for 30 to 45 seconds, according to Walker. The officers also say they announced themselves before using a battering ram to knock in the door. But Walker, who called 911 to report a violent break-in and initially faced an attempted murder charge that was later dropped, insists he did not know the intruders were police officers. He says Taylor got no response when she loudly and repeatedly asked who was at the door.

Nearly all of the neighbors who were interviewed by investigators or the press said they heard no announcement. The one neighbor who backed up the cops' account initially said he likewise did not hear the officers announce themselves. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron nevertheless concluded that the officers "both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment."

Cameron decided there was no basis for criminal charges against Cosgrove or Mattingly because they acted in self-defense. A grand juror said the charges against Hankison were the only ones the jurors considered because prosecutors told them charging Cosgrove or Mattingly was not legally viable. But Mattingly's involvement in Jaynes' investigation casts doubt on Cameron's assumption that Mattingly was relying in good faith on a warrant he believed was valid. Jaynes cited information from Mattingly about "packages," attributing it to a postal inspector. If that information actually indicated that Glover was not sending drugs or drug money to Taylor's apartment, Mattingly had reason to doubt the basis for the warrant.

In her termination letter to Cosgrove, Gentry says he failed to "properly identify a target" when he fired 16 rounds down a dark hallway. "The shots you fired went in three distinctly different directions, demonstrating that you did not identify a specific target," she writes. "Rather, you fired in a manner consistent with suppressive fire, which is in direct contradiction to our training, values and policy."

Cosgrove told investigators he was not consciously aware of using his gun. "I just sensed that I've fired," Cosgrove said. "It's like a surreal thing. If you told me I didn't do something at that time, I'd believe you. If you told me I did do something, I'd probably believe you, too." Although Walker fired just once, Cosgrove said he was "overwhelmed with bright flashes and darkness," which led him to believe "there's still these gunshots happening due to those bright lights." He apparently mistook his colleagues' rounds for hostile fire.

"In your statement, you did not describe target isolation or target identification and instead described flashes that you did not properly evaluate as a threat," Gentry writes. "Had you evaluated the threat accurately, you would have likely stopped firing once the gunfire had stopped."

In her letters to Jaynes and Cosgrove, Gentry said "the investigation conducted by the Louisville Metro Police Department's Professional Standards Unit is now complete." Jaynes and Cosgrove will have an opportunity to rebut Gentry's criticism before she finalizes her decision. They can then appeal her decision to the Police Merit Board.

The FBI is still looking into the raid, including the circumstances surrounding the search warrant, but the intent requirement for federal civil rights charges is hard to meet. More than nine months after the raid, Hankison is the only officer to be prosecuted in connection with it, and the charges against him, which allege that he endangered Taylor's neighbors, are not related to her death.

NEXT: Immunity Passports May Liberate Us From Lockdowns or Invite New Privacy Invasions

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  1. What about the judge that rubber stamped this warrant without doing their duty of questioning the evidence presented to them and the rationale for the warrant?

    The judge did nothing to prevent this other than rubber stamp the warrant. They too need to be held accountable.

    1. This.


    2. But rubber stamping warrants is their job.

    3. It’s called perjury, isn’t it?

      Surely absolute immunity doesn’t extend to explicit malfeasance like perjury as part of their job, does it?

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    4. Reason’s new dogma is that judges are infallible paragon of ethics

    5. My thoughts exactly…if the judge is the one with the authority to approve a fourth amendment violation warrant, then the judge must be held accountable.

      I spent many years involved in organizational analysis and when responsibilities and accountabilities aren’t aligned, you see ongoing dysfunction. You see lower level employees held accountable for things they don’t really have the authority to control.

      I understand the police involved probably feed the judge some bad information but who in their right mind authorizes a no knock warrant on a citizen who has zero criminal history and has never done anything to make the police think she might be violent?

    6. Agreed. I’d say it’s time to add a whole new meaning to the term ‘Hanging Judge’.

  2. Can the union use Zoom to sue for reinstatement, or do they have to wait for an actual court room?

  3. Sadly reason koch suckers won’t tell the truth here. It doesn’t fit the narrative of cop hate and defund the police.

    1. What exactly in the article is false?

      1. The police have audio transcripts which clearly make Breonna the money handler. They have a gps record of the coming and going of the perps car. They recognized the usual pattern, a stash house, a trap house and a cash house. They did recover drugs hidden in a tree at the stash house. I could go on but I’m biased. I think everyone who has not attempted to restrain a super-human, totally insane mature male on fentynal should just be beaten senseless if they pretend to know what they are talking about.

        1. Yeah those people are a bitch to fight off once they fall unconscious.

    2. Fortunately we have you to enlighten us with the truth.

      Go ahead please.

    3. Sullum cranks out frequent anti-cop stories, full of half truths. For the true “Breonna” story, I refer you to Ann Coulters excellent relevant column.

  4. Breonna Taylor was a POS that hung around with other pieces OS.

    1. Non sequitur

      Cracking down on dipshit police officers who give false information when obtaining warrants is good. Unless you don’t care about liberty.

      1. Nobody cares about your liberty.

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    2. Fuck off with your moralizing. You probably don’t think your pharmacist is a piece of shit but they’re in the same line of work, just with a government issued permission slip.

    3. Breonna Taylor was an emergency room technician who had no criminal history. She had somewhat poor choice of friends, but please tell me what about her makes her a POS and my implication deserving to be killed?

      1. Breonna Taylor was not at all at fault. She was totally innocent. One does not have to justify the use of the no-knock warranty or approve of how the cops acted by shooting Breonna Taylor to death while she was sleeping, however, to realize that Breonna’s boyfriend was also partly responsible for Breonna’s death because Kenneth, her boyfriend, who had a gun, shot first when the cops burst in, resulting in a retaliatory shooting by the cops, which killed Breonna.

        This is the big problem with guns–people, regardless of whether they’re cops or civilians, are too damned ready to use them with impunity.

        1. The boyfriend did nothing wrong. Everyone has a right to prevent unidentified intruders from breaking into their home, and guns are a guarantee of that right.

          The possibility of violent consequences is one of the greatest constraints on violent actions.

          1. I’m sorry, but I disagree with you here, A Thinking Mind. The boyfriend of Breonna was partly responsible. Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, who had a gun, went on the offensive and shot first, the cops shot back, and Breonna was killed as a result. Frankly, I never thought that guns really belonged in civilian hands and I still don’t.

            1. 1. CIVILIANS are government employees not in the military. Cops are civilians. I do agree, civilians should not be armed. The boygriend is a citizen. Citizens should be armed.
              2. Shooting home invaders is self defense. The cops in this instance should have served the warrant in daylight hours by knocking and waiting to be let in after the citizen has read the warrant. Also the citizen should have the right to record all of the search. After a search a citizen’s property should be in the same condition it was in before the search. So if a cop dumps a drawer, the cop should be required to put everything back in the drawer how it was before the search.

            2. “Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, who had a gun, went on the offensive and shot first,…”
              Offensive 1st?! You are a moron.

              “I never thought that guns really belonged in civilian hands and I still don’t.” Still a moron X 100.

              What other natural rights do you oppose? Nevermind. Anyone who opposes the lynch pin to upholding of the rest or our rights is a wannabe serf. How did you get here?

            3. Interesting that you don’t feel that breaking down a door in the middle of the night with weapons drawn is going on the offensive.

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          3. I seem to remember that the boyfriend shot through the door before the police actually broke in, hitting one of the policemen – no? If true, it’s almost guaranteed that this will result in the police busting the door down and entering with a firestorm of bullets.

            1. No. And if they had happened they would not have breached. They would have shot back through the door and fallen back, established a cordon, and waited for swat. Cops, especially NY Cops, do not like gunfights where the other guys shoot back.

    4. People who would deny basic human and constitutional rights to those they judge as POS are themselves pieces of shit.

  5. The whole corrupt cop show on display here. A lazy, sleepy judge rubber-stamping defective warrant applications, corrupt, lazy, stupid cops breaking the law at every possible turn, and a cop-dominated Police Merit Board and voter-focused district attorneys providing cover for the whole sleazy enterprise.

    1. Yes.

    2. Nobody’s excusing the cops for their irresponsible behavior, but I stand by my opinion that Breonna’s boyfriend was partly responsible for her death, because her boyfriend went on the offensive and started shooting when the cops broke in, and the cops retaliated by shooting back, thus resulting in the sleeping Breonna’s death.

      1. Shooting people who kick in your door in the middle of the night is defense, not offense.

      2. Please stop spreading false information.

        Breanna Taylor wasn’t sleeping, she was standing in the hallway next to her boyfriend.

        And, while the cops were issued a “no knock” warrant, they decided to first knock and identify themselves; a neighbor testified that they heard cops knock and identify themselves.

        1. That doesn’t mean Breonna’s boyfriend heard them. Cops plan these raids to shock and confuse their targets, then blame the targets for being shocked and confused.

  6. There might be a bit more to the story of St. Breona, Virgin and Martyr.

    Here’s some added detail. Yes, it’s Ann Coulter but what she says seems to be important facts left out of the narrative.

    1. It’s an interesting read and definitely contains information I didn’t know before. It’s almost absurd that they ended up not searching the residence for drugs or money! Further evidence how fucking stupid these police officers were.

      However, not sure how anything here justifies lying to a judge to obtain a warrant.

      1. Everybody in that whole affair–judge, cops, accused or shot–looked bad. Jamarcus was the only one in the story who had a bit of sense.

        “At the end of the day” he said, “if I would have been at that house, Bre would be alive, bruh. I don’t shoot at no police.”

        “Don’t shoot at no police” is pretty good advice.

        1. If police took the time to identify themselves before breaking it, they could have made that much easier. They created a dangerous situation by not standing there with identification at the ready.

          1. They DID knock and identify themselves, a neighbor confirms this.

      2. A lot of cops, including the cops who shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her sleep are rather stupid. Breonna’s boyfriend was also quite stupid, because he went on the offensive when the cops broke into the apartment and shooting at them. The cops, not surprisingly shot back, resulting in Breonna’s death.

        1. “Broke into the apartment” you say? Hmmm.

        2. She was sleeping in her hallway while she “loudly and repeatedly asked who was at the door.”

    2. Breonna’s boyfriend, Kenneth, also bears some responsibility for her death, due to the fact that he had a gun, went on the offensive and shot first. The cops shot back, and thereby killed Breonna. Having said that, I don’t think that her boyfriend should get off the hook, either.

      1. Second Amendment or not, it’s a good idea to know who you’re shooting at before trying to light them up. That goes for cops as well as the rest of us.

        1. Thou shalt not trespass.

      2. Kentucky had the Castle doctrine, so I think it’s perfectly fine for him to avoid prosecution. The warrant for this raid was obtained under false pretenses, making it invalid. If you’re going to break down the door of an innocent person, you deserve whatever bullets are shot at you, police are not.
        If anything, the lack of Walker’s prosecution is a very good thing. It may motivate police to quit escalating situations needlessly, or possibly be more accurate with the targets if your raid.

        1. Whether or not he had the castle doctrine is irrelevant to me; the legal doctrine is less significant to me than justice. Justice is defending against violent intruders.

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  8. “The great masses of men, though theoretically free, are seen to submit supinely to oppression and exploitation of a hundred abhorrent sorts. Have they no means of resistance? Obviously they have. The worst tyrant, even under democratic plutocracy, has but one throat to slit. The moment the majority decided to overthrow him he would be overthrown. But the majority lacks the resolution; it cannot imagine taking the risks.” ~ H. L. Mencken (1926). “Notes on Democracy,” p. 50, Alfred A. Knopf
    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

  9. Is no one going to mention that Sullum cooked something with no spam in it?

  10. The repeated allegation that the police didn’t announce themselves makes no sense. I’m sorry, but what kind of imbecile would think that police would just shout wordlessly and bash down a door without saying “Police! Open Up!”? That’s the primary thing they yell. I’m not saying that it is impossible, but I don’t think anyone will disagree that this beggars belief.

    There are many things that went wrong on this. Taylor herself seems to be the only person in this story whom I can’t fault. Everyone else: the boyfriend who shot through a door, the police who fired blindly, the detective who lied about evidence, the rubber stamping judge who didn’t even question it, and the media who jumped all over this to support their own narratives about police cruelty or no-knock warrants, all of them share fault and many deserve criminal punishment.

    1. Doesn’t matter if the police shouted it or not if the homeowners did not hear it. No excuse for the cops kicking in the door whatsoever.

      1. The theory behind breaking in is that perps must not be given a chance to destroy evidence. But the risk of harming innocent people is too great in a victimless crime case. No-knock warrants should be saved for kidnaping (to prevent the perps from harming the hostage) and other equivalently dangerous crimes.

  11. “Detective Joshua Jaynes lied in the affidavit he used to obtain a no-knock search warrant for Taylor’s apartment”

    That is a felony.

    And, if a material element to the warrant, a proximate cause of her death.

    If KY has a felony murder statute he should be facing charges.

    1. I agree…he was part of a criminal conspiracy that resulted in the death of an innocent citizen….

      1. I’m not seeing the elements of a conspiracy, but no conspiracy is required, all that is required is that, absent the lie, the warrant would not have been granted.

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