Officer Involved in Breonna Taylor Killing Writing Book, Distributor Simon & Schuster Backs Out Amid Backlash
Simon & Schuster no longer plans to distribute a book being written by one of the officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor after news of the project caused backlash online.
Louisville Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was one of the officers who executed a no-knock warrant on Taylor's apartment after midnight on March 13, 2020, that resulted in the 26-year-old being fatally shot. The Louisville Courier Journal first reported on Thursday that Mattingly was writing a book for Post Hill Press about that night titled The Fight For Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy.
News of the book deal quickly sparked outrage on social media, and Simon & Schuster — which typically distributes books from the smaller publishing house, which specializes in Christian and conservative political books, according to its website — announced that it cut ties with the project.
"Like much of the American public, earlier today Simon & Schuster learned of plans by distribution client Post Hill Press to publish a book by Jonathan Mattingly. We have subsequently decided not to be involved in the distribution of this book," read the statement.
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However, in a statement issued to PEOPLE on Friday, the book's PR spokesperson, Kelsey Merritt, said that Post Hill Press stands by its decision to pursue the project.
"Post Hill Press continues to move forward with plans to publish Sgt. Mattingly's book. His story is important and it deserves to be heard by the public at large. We feel strongly that an open dialogue is essential to shining a light on the challenging issues our country is facing," Merritt said.
The night of the incident, Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a warning shot as the unknown persons breached the front door with a battering ram, and that officers responded by opening fire, with a total of 32 gunshots. Taylor was hit six times, one of which was fatal.
Police were executing a search warrant for an investigation into a suspected drug dealer, who police alleged had once retrieved a package at Taylor's home. But the suspected drug dealer didn't live at Taylor's building — and had, in fact, just been arrested at a different location. No drugs were found in Taylor's apartment.
Mattingly, one of the officers who opened fire that night, is still employed by the Louisville Police Department. He was injured in the raid, shot by Walker, a licensed gun-owner who has long maintained that he believed someone was trying to break into the apartment. Criminal shooting charges against Walker were permanently dismissed with prejudice, meaning he cannot be recharged for the incident.
Mattingly filed a civil suit against Walker in October claiming that he experienced "severe trauma, mental anguish and emotional distress" when he was fired upon that night.