Breonna Taylor raid officer compares shooting to George Floyd’s death: ‘This is not kneeling on a neck’
One of the police officers in the raid on Breonna Taylor’s home that resulted in her shooting death is speaking out publicly for the first time, saying the fatal incident was nothing like other recent deaths of Black people that have sparked protests across the nation.
In an interview with ABC News and the Louisville Courier Journal that aired Wednesday on “Good Morning America,” Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly said the March 13 fatal shooting of Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, was “not a race thing” and that he felt “mostly frustration” watching protests across the nation in response to her death.
“This is not relatable to George Floyd. This is nothing like that,” Mattingly said, referring to the death of Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis in May after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes.
“What happened to him was tragic,” Mattingly said. “It was horrible. Everybody looked at that said, ‘wrong, bad, disgusting.'”
Mattingly then noted that the four officers in the Floyd incident were arrested and taken into custody afterward.
“In my opinion that was the right call, whether he died of an overdose or whatever,” Mattingly said, referring to Floyd.
He continued, “In my opinion, George Floyd was not a model citizen.”
“Good Morning America” co-host Michael Strahan responded, “It’s very hard for me to sit here and hear that George Floyd died of an overdose. He died because somebody was kneeling on his neck for minutes.”
“I agree with that,” Mattingly said.”In regards to him being a model citizen or not, he didn’t deserve that. No one deserved that,” Strahan said.
“No one said he did,” Mattingly replied.
Authorities in Minnesota said Monday that George Floyd’s death was a homicide that occurred while he was being restrained by law enforcement.
The Hennepin County medical examiner ruled Floyd’s death a homicide, saying it was a “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
Four officers were terminated from the Minneapolis Police Department and charged in his death.
Mattingly also said in the interview that the outcome of the raid on Taylor’s home would have been different and she would be alive if officers had entered the apartment without knocking.
“We would have either served the no-knock warrant or we would have done the normal thing we do, which is [wait] five to 10 seconds — to not give people time to formulate a plan, not give people time to get their senses so they have an idea of what they’re doing,” he said.
If he and other officers in the raid had done that, Mattingly said, “Breonna Taylor would be alive, 100 percent.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed in the raid after police broke down the door to her apartment seeking evidence in a narcotics investigation related to an ex-boyfriend who lived at a different address.
Mattingly said officers knocked repeatedly and announced themselves before entering, an account disputed by Kenneth Walker, who was home with Taylor at the time.
Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, told CBS “This Morning” in an interview this month that they heard a “loud bang at the door” and that they both called out several times but that no one replied. “We were saying, ‘Who is it?’ There was no response,” he said.
A licensed gun carrier, Walker said he thought an intruder was trying to enter the home, and after grabbing his gun he fired a single shot, hoping it would scare the person away.
Police said the bullet struck Mattingly’s leg, which Walker’s attorneys have disputed.
After Walker shot his gun, police returned fire.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has said Mattingly fired six shots, Det. Myles Cosgrove fired 16 and Det. Brett Hankison fired 10. An FBI analysis determined that Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor.
No officers were charged in connection to Taylor’s shooting death.
A grand juror in the case spoke out anonymously through a lawyer on Tuesday, saying that the jury did not agree that Taylor’s fatal shooting was justified, and that the only charge presented to jurors during the proceedings was wanton endangerment.
Mattingly told “GMA” in the interview that he feels for Taylor’s mother.
“I hurt for her mother and for her sisters,” said Mattingly, a father of four.
“It’s not just a passing, ‘Oh, this is part of the job, we did it and move on.’ It’s not like that. I mean, Breonna Taylor is now attached to me for the rest of my life. And that’s not, again, ‘Woe is me.’ That’s me feeling for them. That’s me having a heart and a soul, going as a parent, ‘How do you move on?'”
He added that he isn’t “going to sit here playing the victim card” but that his family has also suffered amid the protests and public criticism over the shooting.
“When they started personally getting the death threats, as a father you can imagine how that would feel,” he said.
He said he believes that he and the other officers involved in Taylor’s death acted appropriately, criticizing the Louisville mayor who appeared to side with critics of police in the incident.
Last month, Mattingly sent a six-paragraph email to more than a 1,000 colleagues saying he felt betrayed by the mayor and other officials. “I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night,” he wrote of the raid.