One of the three Louisville police officers connected to the shooting death of Breonna Taylor went public Wednesday (Oct. 21) in a tense and wide-ranging interview with Michael Strahan. During an interview on Good Morning America, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly claims race had nothing to do with Taylor being killed by police, that the 26-year-old EMT did not deserve to die, and reiterated the claim that police did identify themselves that fateful night.
He also questioned protestors’ concerns linking Taylor’s death to the police killing of George Floyd.
Claims This Case Is Different Than Others
“Because this is not relatable to George Floyd. This is nothing like that,” said Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, in an interview collaboration with ABC News and the Louisville Courier-Journal. “It's not Ahmaud Arbery. It's nothing like it. These are two totally different types of incidences. It's not a race thing like people wanna try to make it to be. It's not.
“This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It's nothing like that.”
Mattingly along with Det. Myles Cosgrove and former Det. Brett Hankison, burst into Taylor’s apartment on March 13, firing the shots that killed her in a raid intended to reportedly apprehend her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, who had already been taken into custody on drug charges.
None of the officers were charged in connection with Taylor’s death. Only Hankison, who was fired in June, will face charges and those are of “wanton endangerment” since some of his shots entered a neighboring apartment.
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The Tense Moment
In one segment of the interview, Strahan and Mattingly engaged in an exchange about racial profiling. Mattingly denied that he was a racist and said that he is not culpable in the practice.
“Good police, anyway, police I work with don’t racial profile, you criminal profile,” he said, noting that stereotyping Blacks as threatening is “not the case.” To which Strahan responded: “Well that’s how Black men feel. That’s how Black women feel.”
“Does that make it real?” Mattingly asked.
“If it’s how you feel, it’s real,” Strahan replied. “What is the difference between criminal profiling and racial profiling?”
Mattingly vaguely described criminal profiling as knowing the behaviors and dispositions of people in an area an officer may work. “Basically, it’s a feeling,” Strahan pressed.
“It’s a feeling that goes along with what you’ve experienced,” Mattingly answered. “With what is in the area, what should, or shouldn’t be.”
Mattingly then segued to the Floyd case again, although saying charging Minneapolis officers involved was the “right call,” he also noted that Floyd was “not a model citizen,” which gave Strahan particular pause.
“It’s very hard for me to sit here and hear George Floyd died of an overdose, he died because someone was kneeling on his neck for a minute,” Strahan said. “In regards of him being a model citizen or not, he didn’t deserve that. No one deserves that.”
Describing The Night Of The Shooting
Mattingly described to Strahan what he and the other officers did in attempting to execute a “no knock” warrant at the apartment.
"So we get up, I remember banging on the door, it's open hand, hard smack, bam, bam, bam, bam. First time, didn't announce. Just hoping she would come to the door," said Mattingly. He said they banged on the door a second time, announcing they had a search warrant. Ultimately, he claimed, the police knocked six different times and the final time, another officer who was present, Det. Mike Nobles said he heard someone coming to the door.
"So we stop, we listen. Nobody says anything. We yell again, 'Police, search warrant. Open the door if you're here,' " said Mattingly. When there was no answer, Nobles rammed the door in. Nobles also said this in an internal investigation interview that was released as part of the audio recordings from the grand jury hearing in the case.
In speaking with the Courier-Journal, Mattingly said Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker had to have heard the knocks, given their loud nature.
Disputing Mattingly’s Account
But Walker, in an interview with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King that was broadcast Saturday (Oct. 17), was adamant that although he heard a loud knock, nobody said anything indicating police were at the door.
“If they knocked on the door and said who it was, we could hear them,” Walker explained. “I’m a million percent sure nobody identified themselves.”
Walker, a licensed gun owner, said that when the door was burst open, he let off a shot, that struck Mattingly in the leg. Police then opened fire, striking Taylor at least five times, killing her. He was later charged with attempted murder, but those charges were dropped.
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Taylor’s death is one of several high profile incidents that have spurred massive protests across the nation this year. Calls for the three officers’ firing and criminal prosecution have persisted. But in September, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that none of the officers would face criminal charges.
On Tuesday (Oct. 20), an anonymous grand juror spoke out through their lawyer and blasted the grand jury procedure.
“The grand jury was not presented any charges other than the three Wanton Endangerment charges against Detective Hankison,” the statement from the juror read. “The grand jury did not have homicide charges explained to them. The grand jury never heard anything about those laws. Self defense or justification was never explained either.
RELATED: Breonna Taylor Case: Grand Juror Says Jury Never Given Chance To Weigh Homicide Charges Against Police
An Appeal To Breonna Taylor’s Mother
Strahan finished his interview by asking what Mattingly would say, if anything, to Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, who has been at the forefront of the demands for justice in the case.
“Ms. Palmer, nobody should ever have to go through what you’re feeling,” Mattingly said. “Nobody can sympathize or feel what you’re feeling unless they’ve lost a child. There’s no way I could ever tell you enough how much I wish this hadn’t taken place.
“No amount of money in the world is going to change that, police reform is not going to bring her back,” he continued. “But I just hope that you can find it in your heart at some point to find some peace, find some love in the future, and I pray that everybody learns something from this and that this tragedy never happens again to any other family.”
BET has been covering every angle of the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.
Photo Credit: ABC News/Screengrab