LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The former Louisville Metro Police Sergeant who was shot and injured the night Breonna Taylor was killed said he believes Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, is the one responsible for Taylor’s death.
“Any man that's worth his salt, if you really thought you were getting broken into, why would [you] take your girlfriend in the hall with you? … Not only that, you leave her hanging, you dive out of the way and she’s stuck. And then, after that, you tell police she’s the one who shot the police. It just doesn’t get any more cowardice than that to me,” retired Sergeant John Mattingly said.
In a one-on-one interview Wednesday, Mattingly said he had no disdain for Walker, who fired his gun once, striking Mattingly.
“Maybe if I had been paralyzed from the bullet, it'd be different,” he said.
Walker has said he didn’t know if police were at the door. Officers there that night, including Mattingly, said they announced their presence and knocked six times before turning to a forced entry.
"Once he was in the hallway, it's impossible that he didn't hear us yelling police right there," Mattingly said.
Mattingly said he doesn’t blame Walker for grabbing his gun but believes there were things that could have been done differently. "I think your first action, shooting, isn’t that,” he said.
He’s opening up about the night of the raid in his book, “12 Seconds in the Dark: A Police Officer’s Firsthand Account of the Breonna Taylor Raid” released this week, just days after the two-year anniversary of Taylor’s death.
He said the release date was not intentional.
“They had a tracker on his car, ping on his phone, they knew where he was,” said Mattingly.
He explained that knowing Glover’s whereabouts changed the ‘no-knock warrant’ issued for Taylor’s home into a ‘knock warrant,’ but they still had to execute both warrants for Springfield Drive and Elliot Avenue at the same time.
“Looking back, would I say, every drug warrant of that time, would I do it differently? I would've done it different knowing what I know now, but it doesn't mean it was wrong or something out of the ordinary because it happens all the time,” he said. “Obviously we didn't have that intel, we didn't know Kenneth Walker was there, we were never told her sister and the baby lived there... so there were some failures on that part of it that could've been better.”
Mattingly said he’s sorry Taylor “got shot,” saying he “didn’t want that.” He said he hasn't reached out to Taylor's family directly, but has offered his condolences.
“We mourn the loss of Breonna Taylor. It's not us going ‘oh we're sorry we did something wrong,’ it's us saying ‘regardless, a life was lost,’” he said.
“I would pray the community can somehow find a way, even if they think we're in the wrong to forgive us,” he continued. “I would ask for that and say we've got to go forward. This hurts everyone when we don't.”
Mattingly said he “probably said some things" he "probably shouldn’t have said,” but said he does not regret sending an email to the entire Louisville Metro Police Department right before Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron made his indictment announcement.
“Nobody had these guys’ back. Our command staff, especially the chief was a coward,” he said.
Mattingly believes the tension between this community and the police department can be salvaged, but said it will take a lot more transparency, and punishing the bad, but rewarding the good, too.
“I think once they do that, I think some trust can start to be built, and we can make a change,” though he said he has no faith the current administration could do that.
Mattingly said he has no plans to become a police officer again.