Wounded officer in Breonna Taylor shooting: ‘I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing’

An officer who was wounded during the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, sent an email Tuesday to more than 1,000 of his colleagues criticizing Mayor Greg Fischer and others while defending his actions during the botched police raid.

In the six-paragraph email, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly apologized to his fellow officers and their families and said Fischer, Public Safety Chief Amy Hess and former Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad “failed all of us in epic proportions for their own gain and to cover their asses.”

Fischer announced last week that a $12 million settlement had been reached with Taylor’s family that will include police reforms to prevent future deaths at the hands of officers. The settlement did not require the city to acknowledge wrongdoing. The agreement settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Taylor’s mother.

The email was first reported Tuesday morning by Vice News correspondent Roberto Ferdman.

Kent Wicker, an attorney for Mattingly, confirmed that his client sent the email.

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

A police spokesman, Sgt. Lamont Washington, said the department did not release the email but is aware of it “and the matter is under review.”

Fischer declared a state of emergency Tuesday because of the potential for civil unrest as the city awaited Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s announcement about whether a grand jury would will charge officers in Taylor’s shooting death. One officer was charged with wanton endangerment in connection with shots that strayed into other apartments; no officers were directly charged in Taylor’s death.

The police department said in a news release Tuesday it was placing barricades around Jefferson Square Park, where protests over Taylor’s death have been held, and the perimeter of the downtown area. Her death sparked a national uproar and calls for federal intervention.

In May, Fischer and Conrad, the police chief at the time, asked the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI to review the police department’s internal investigation of Taylor’s killing. Conrad was fired in June after it was revealed that officers involved in a shooting that killed a local business owner did not activate their body cameras.

Mattingly told his colleagues in the email that they “DO NOT DESERVE to be in this position.”

“The position that allows thugs to get in your face and yell, curse and degrade you,” he wrote.

Mattingly, 47, also wrote that they “signed up to be police officers” and “knew the risks and were willing to take them.” But, he wrote, “we always assumed the city had your back.”

He wrote that police “DO NOT CARE” what race a person is or what they identify as.

Mattingly told his colleagues he is still proud to be a cop and to be employed by the department that he joined 20 years ago.

“No matter the ineptitude in upper command or the mayors office, this is one of the greatest jobs on earth,” he wrote. “With that being said these next few days are going to be tough. They are going to be long, they are going to be frustrating. They will put a tremendous amount of stress on your families. Do not let your ego get you in a trick bag.”

He advised them to de-escalate if possible.

He told them to do what they need to do to go home to their families. “Just do it with dignity and make sure you can justify your actions because everything down there is recorded,” he wrote.

Taylor, 26, an emergency room technician who had no criminal record, was killed March 13 in a botched drug raid. Police were executing a search warrant in a drug investigation involving her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, a convicted drug dealer, who authorities said had listed her apartment as his address and used it to receive packages. No drugs or money were found in Taylor’s apartment.

Mattingly was shot in the thigh by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, a licensed gun owner who said he mistook police officers for an intruder. Walker fired a single shot. He has said that he and Taylor shouted out asking who was there, but police did not identify themselves. Police said they did.

Louisville police Officer Brett Hankison, who shot 10 rounds blindly into Taylor’s apartment, was fired in June. Officer Myles Cosgrove and Mattingly have been placed on administrative leave, along with the detective who requested the warrant.

Read the full text of the email below:

I’m not here to give you a Rah Rah you got this speech. I’m not here to tell you that you signed up to help this community and to keep your head up. I’m here to tell you I’m sorry you have to go through this. I’m sorry your families have to go through this. I’m sorry the Mayor, Amy Hess and Chief Conrad failed all of us in epic proportions for their own gain and to cover their asses.

You DO NOT DESERVE to be in this position. The position that allows thugs to get in your face and yell, curse and degrade you. Throw bricks, bottles and urine on you and expect you to do nothing. It goes against EVERYTHING we were all taught in the academy. The position that if you make a mistake during one of the most stressful times in your career, the department and FBI (who aren’t cops and would piss their pants if they had to hold the line) go after you for civil rights violations. Your civil rights mean nothing, but the criminal has total autonomy.

We all signed up to be police officers. We knew the risks and were willing to take them, but we always assumed the city had your back. We wanted To do the right thing in the midst of an evil world to protect those who cannot protect themselves. To enforce laws that make it possible to live in a peaceful society. We as police DO NOT CARE if you are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, what you identify as…this week. We aren’t better than anyone. This is not an us against society, but it is good versus evil. We are sons, daughters, husbands, wives, parters, brothers, sisters, dads and moms. We are human beings with flaws, feelings and emotions.

Now I’m just rambling, but I want you to know that I’m still proud to be a cop. To be an LMPD cop. No matter the ineptitude in upper command or the mayors office, this is one of the greatest jobs on earth. With that being said these next few days are going to be tough. They are going to be long, they are going to be frustrating. They will put a tremendous amount of stress on your families. Do not let your ego get you in a trick bag. Have your partners 6. De escalate if possible. DO NOT give the pencil pushers at the top, you know the ones who are too scared to hold the line, a reason to open investigations on you. The same ones that couldn’t make decisions to save their lives. We need leaders that lead from the front and not in a room under a desk. Do what you need to do to go home you your family. Just do it with dignity and make sure you can justify your actions because everything down there is recorded.

I don’t know a lot of you guys/gals but I’ve felt the love. 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. Put that aside for a while, keep your focus and do your jobs that you are trained and capable of doing. Don’t put up with their shit, and go home to those lovely families and relationships.

I wish I were there with you leading the charge. I’ll be praying for your safety. Remember you are just a pawn in the Mayors political game. I’m proof they do not care about you or your family, and you are replaceable. Stay safe and do the right thing. YOU ARE LOVED AND SUPPORTED by most of the community. Now go be the Warriors you are, but please be safe! None of these “peaceful” protesters are worth your career or freedom. God speed boys and girls.