"The provided circumstances made it unsafe to take a single shot," an investigator wrote. "This is how the wrong person was shot and killed"

By Steve Helling
May 10, 2021 12:42 PM
Advertisement
Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor
| Credit: Instagram

An internal probe into the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor says that none of the officers on the scene should have fired their gun, according to newly-released documents.

The findings of the probe were contradicted by senior officials in the Louisville Metro Police Department, according to a new report from two investigators that was obtained by ABC News.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was killed by police in a botched raid in March 2020 when Louisville Metro Police Department officers executed a no-knock drug warrant, even though no drugs were found at the home.

Police started shooting into the apartment after Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired off a warning shot, not knowing who was attempting to breach the apartment.

After police returned fire, Taylor, an Emergency Room Technician studying to be a nurse, was shot eight times.

Only one of the three officers involved in the shooting faced charges — not for killing Taylor, but for allegedly endangering her neighbors. That officer, Brett Hankison, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

Last December, Sgt. Andrew Meyer of the police department's Professional Standards Unit determined in a preliminary report that the officers should have held their fire.

"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," Meyer wrote, according to the report.

According to ABC News, the report says Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who was shot in the leg during the incident, and former officers Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, all violated the department's use-of-force policy, because they allegedly ignored the significant risk of hitting someone who did not pose a threat.

After the report was filed, former interim Louisville police Chief Yvette Gentry overruled Meyer's recommendation that the officers face discipline for violating department policy.

Gentry, who stepped down in January, issued a statement to the New York Daily News after the report was made public.

"I fired people that some believe should have been suspended, I reprimanded people some people (said) should have been exonerated and I overturned what was believed was not appropriate for the situation," Gentry wrote, before adding, "I still believe in my soul Breonna Taylor should be alive."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations: