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Thursday, 7 January 2021

BREAKING NEWS: Louisville Police Department fires cop who shot Breonna Taylor dead and officer who obtained no-knock warrant that led to botched raid

 Two Louisville police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor have been fired, nearly ten months after the deadly raid that sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the country. 

Detective Joshua Jaynes - who obtained the controversial no-knock search warrant for Taylor's apartment - and Detective Myles Cosgrove - who fired the fatal bullet - were terminated on Tuesday, The Courier Journal reported.  

The move marks the first time disciplinary action is taken against officers over Taylor's death after a Kentucky grand jury failed to lay murder charges in September.

Detective Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, was charged with firing his gun into a neighboring apartment during the incident, but not over Taylor's killing. He has pleaded not guilty. 

Jaynes and Cosgroves' firing come days after an internal investigation found they had violated department procedures during the botched March 13 raid.   

Detective Joshua Jaynes
Detective Myles Cosgrove

Detectives Joshua Jaynes (left) and Myles Cosgrove (right) were fired on Tuesday in connection to Breonna Taylor's fatal shooting on March 13

The two received pre-termination letters last Tuesday following a Professional Standards Unit probe led by interim Chief Yvette Gentry. 

Gentry's investigation found Jaynes violated procedures for preparation of a search warrant and truthfulness.     

Cosgrove, who the FBI concluded had fired the bullet that claimed Taylor's life, was found to have violated the department's use of force policy and failing to use a body camera, according to the publication. 

Jaynes was not present during the shooting at Taylor's apartment in Louisville, but was responsible for securing the 'no-knock' search warrant from a judge 12 hours before the raid. 

The warrant had become the subject of controversy following the shooting, raising questions as to why officers had targeted Taylor's home despite her not being involved in their drug investigation. 

Jaynes's attorney Thomas Clay last week told the publication they planned to contest the decision at a pre-termination hearing, claiming his client 'did nothing wrong.'   

Jaynes's termination letter stated: 'These are extreme violations of our policies, which endangered others.

'Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the department. Your conduct has severely damaged the image our department has established within our community. 

The officers were serving a search warrant as part of a narcotics investigation on March 13 when they shot Taylor, but no drugs or cash were found in her home. 

Taylor is pictured with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker
Breonna Taylor

The two officers who shot Taylor, according to ballistics evidence, were not charged by the grand jury. One of those officers was shot by Taylor's boyfriend (left) during the raid and returned fire. Taylor's boyfriend said he thought an intruder was breaking into her apartment 

Cosgrove shot Taylor at least three times, killing her, according to an FBI ballistics analysis. He was the second person to enter her home and fired 16 rounds down the hallway

Cosgrove shot Taylor at least three times, killing her, according to an FBI ballistics analysis. He was the second person to enter her home and fired 16 rounds down the hallway 

Virginia Governor signs law banning no-knock warrants
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Cosgrove shot Taylor at least three times, killing her, according to an FBI ballistics analysis. He was the second person to enter her home and fired 16 rounds down the hallway.

Gentry in her pre-termination letter stated that Cosgrove failed to 'properly identify a target' during the raid. 


'The shots you fired went in three distinctly different directions, demonstrating that you did not identify a specific target' she wrote.

'Rather, you fired in a manner consistent with suppressive fire, which is in direct contradiction to our training, values and policy.' 

She continued: 'It appears you fired 16 rounds after Mr (Kenneth) Walker fired one round.

'Two rounds were found in Ms Taylor's body and were identified as fired from your firearm, one being the fatal shot.'

Former officer Brett Hankison (pictured) was charged by the grand jury with three counts of wanton endangerment
John Mattingly

Former officer Brett Hankison (left) was charged by the grand jury with three counts of wanton endangerment. The other officer John Mattingly (right), was not charged

Cosgrove, who had been on administrative duty since the fatal shooting, earlier accused the police department of giving into 'political pressures', after receiving the pre-termination letter. 

In an email addressed to the entire department seen by the Courier Journal, Cosgrove warned his colleagues that the LMPD 'aren't afraid to perform hatchet jobs on you either'. 

'Think about that the next time you put on the uniform and badge,' he wrote. 

'For those of you still doing real police work, it's just a matter of time till you (too) will be a sacrificial lamb. I plead with you, do nothing.' 

Three other officers were disciplined in Gentry's investigation, including Sgt Kyle Meany, Detective Anthony James, and Detective Michael Campbell.

Meany, who was found in violation of department policy for risk assessment, was given a letter of reprimand, according to the news outlet.

Detectives James and Campbell received one-day suspensions for failing to use their body cameras during the incident.

The investigation also cleared three officers of wrongdoing.

Sgt Jonathan Matting, who fired six times after being shot in the leg by Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker, was cleared for deadly use of force.

Lt Shawn Hoover, the commanding officer, and Detective Wes Baron, who was involved in preparing for the search, were also exonerated.

In the early hours of March 13, Louisville police officers entered apartment 4 of 3003 Springfield Drive, firing 32 times. Breonna Taylor was shot six times, but only one was determined to be fatal

In the early hours of March 13, Louisville police officers entered apartment 4 of 3003 Springfield Drive, firing 32 times. Breonna Taylor was shot six times, but only one was determined to be fatal 

Bodycam shows Breonna Taylor was motionless on floor when SWAT arrived
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Taylor, 26,  was an emergency medical worker who had settled in for the night when police busted through her door.

Former officer Brett Hankison was charged by a grand jury with wanton endangerment, a low-level felony, for firing into an adjacent apartment where people were present. 

Cosgrove and Officer John Mattingly who shot Taylor, according to ballistics evidence, were not charged by the grand jury. 

Mattingly was shot by Taylor's boyfriend during the raid and returned fire. Taylor's boyfriend said he thought an intruder was breaking into her apartment.

After the grand jury decision, three jurors came forward to reveal that they believe the investigation was incomplete. 

One woman, who came forward last month, spoke anonymously about the September proceedings, joining two others who said the 12-member panel was not given the option to consider charges against the officers who fatally shot Taylor in March.

The woman, in her first published interview, said that when the proceedings concluded with three wanton endangerment charges for one officer, she felt herself saying 'no, that's not the end of it'.

 'I felt like there should've been more charges,' she said in a phone interview. She echoed two other grand jurors' complaints that the panel wasn't allowed to consider additional charges because prosecutors told them the use of force was justified.

The woman on the grand jury said she didn't understand why prosecutors didn't consider endangerment charges against Mattingly and Cosgrove.

'All of them went in blindly, you really couldn't see into that lady's apartment as they explained to us, there was just a TV on,' she said of Taylor's apartment. The police 'went in there like the O.K. Corral, wanted dead or alive'.

After a year marked by police killings of black men and women and mass civil unrest over racial injustice, some activists have started taking aim at police tactics that can lead to deadly middle-of-the-night raids they say are used overwhelmingly in communities of color.

Rather than waiting for direction from lawmakers, a group of academics, policing experts and activists called Campaign Zero has created model legislation around so-called no-knock warrants they hope will be attractive to cities, states and President-elect Joe Biden, as they work to curtail police tactics that lead to both civilian and officer casualties. 

While Biden has said his administration will support criminal justice reforms, it's unclear where he will focus. 

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