GMA EXCLUSIVE: Officer involved in Breonna Taylor’s case speaks out
LOUISVILLE, Texas (ABC) — Twenty-six-year-old medical worker Breonna Taylor, shot and killed by Louisville Police officers shortly after midnight on March 13 while executing a search warrant.
Officers investigating a suspected drug operation allegedly linked to her boyfriend.
This morning, for the first time, Sargeant Jon Mattingly sharing publicly what he says happened that night.
“So we get up. I remember bangin’ on the door. It’s open hand, hard smack, ‘Bam, bam, bam, bam,'” said Mattingly. “First time didn’t announce. Just hopin’ she’d come to the door so everything was quiet, neighbors wouldn’t come out.”
According to Mattingly, they knocked once- no answer- before knocking a second time and yelling “Police, search warrant. Police, search warrant.”
After knocking and announcing several times, one officer heard movement inside the home.
“He said, ‘Stop. I can hear somebody comin’ up to the door.’ So we stop, we listen, nobody says anything. We yell again, ‘Police, search warrant. Open the door if you’re there. Police, search warrant.’ And– finally, I look back at my lieutenant, who’s in the stack back here. He goes, ‘Go ahead and hit it.'”
When ramming the door, Mattingly says they continued to announce their presence.
Kenneth Walker, a neighbor to Taylor, said he heard her and her boyfriend screaming ‘Who is it?’ suggesting they didn’t hear police announcing.
“Maybe he didn’t,” said Mattingly in an interview with GMA’s Michael Strahan.
“But there are– there are also 11 neighbors who said the same thing that he said,” commented Strahan.
“Those 11 neighbors also said we didn’t knock. Kenneth Walker says we knocked. The other witness says we knocked. So if you didn’t hear us knock, you’re not gonna hear us announce.”
Upon entering the dark apartment, Mattingly says he saw two figures in the hallway.
“As soon as I turned the corner, I– my eyes went straight to the barrel of this gun. I could see the– the tip of it. And my eyes just focused in on it.”
Taylor’s boyfriend, 27-year-old Kenneth Walker, a legal gun owner, fired a shot. He would later tell investigators he fired because he didn’t know who was bursting through the door.
An FBI Ballistics report saying it was Walker’s bullet that struck Mattingly.
“As soon as I felt the– the smack on my leg and the heat– ‘Boom, boom, boom,’ returned four fire– returned shots– four shots,” said Mattingly. “From start to finish, from the time I got shot till the time I’m on the ground and heard the last volley of shots, 12 seconds total.”
Only one officer was wearing a body camera that night, but it wasn’t turned on because Mattingly said it wasn’t police procedure. However, he believes if the camera had been turned on, “this wouldn’t even be an issue. This wouldn’t be a case.”
If he could do it all over, Mattingly says they should have gone in quicker.
“We would’ve either served a no-knock warrant or we woulda done the normal thing we do, which is five to ten seconds. To not give people time to formulate a plan. Not give ta– people time to get their senses so they– they have– an idea of what they’re doin’ because if that had happened, I’m tellin’ you, like, if that had happened, Breonna Taylor would be alive.”
In the months following Taylor’s death, the protest began erupting across the U.S., calling for the officers involved to be criminally charged. Mattingly said he was filled with frustration.
“The frustration came from our command and from the mayor’s office because there was so much disinformation out… Because this is not relatable to George Floyd. This is nothing like that. 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. this is a point where we were doin’ our job, we gave too much time when we go in. I get shot, we returned fire. This is not us goin’, huntin’ somebody down. This is not kneelin’ on a neck. It’s nothing like that.”
No one has been charged in connection with Taylor’s death, but one officer involved, Brett Hankinson, has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment. Hankinson has pled not guilty.