Officer shouldn’t have shot into Breonna Taylor’s apartment, internal probe finds

They "took a total of thirty-two shots when the provided circumstances made it unsafe to take a single shot," the probe found.

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An internal report released by the Professional Standards Unit of the Louisville Police Department found the Kentucky officers should not have fired into the home of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020. 

“They took a total of thirty-two shots when the provided circumstances made it unsafe to take a single shot. This is how the wrong person was shot and killed,” Sgt. Andrew Meyer wrote in a report dated Dec. 4 and obtained by ABC News. 

Breonna Taylor thegrio.com
An internal report released by the Professional Standards Unit of the Louisville Police Department found the Kentucky officers should not have fired into the home of Breonna Taylor (above), killing her. (Photo courtesy of Taylor family)

Meyer wrote that all three Louisville Police officers — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and now-former detectives Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison — violated use-of-force policies when they ignored “the significant risk of hitting someone who did not pose a threat.” 

Taylor was killed when the officers rained a barrage of bullets into her apartment while serving a no-knock warrant. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was legally armed, fired a warning shot that allegedly struck Mattingly in the leg. The officer then returned fire. 

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However, the internal report noted that Walker was not a “clear, isolated target” because he was in a bedroom, and the apartment was dimly lit. 

“Ms. Taylor’s safety should have been considered before he (Mattingly) returned fire,” Meyer wrote.

Taylor was shot six times by bullets from at least two officers. 

Hankison was the only officer indicted in the shooting, and those charges were only for wanton endangerment because three bullets missed Taylor and entered her neighbor’s apartment. 

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An attorney for Taylor’s family, Lonita Baker, told a local news affiliate the Professional Standards Unit report raises more questions for her clients. “Had the officers did as they were trained, they would have retreated,” she said. “According to this investigator, it didn’t justify any shots because they couldn’t assess the threat.” 

Taylor’s slaying last spring has been a clarion call for banning no-knock warrants across the country, and the state of Kentucky passed a partial ban on no-knock warrants last month. Its new law only permits no-knock warrants if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that the crime being investigated “would qualify a person, if convicted, as a violent offender.”

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