LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tuesday, former Louisville Metro Police officer Myles Cosgrove started his final round of merit board hearings in an attempt to get his job back. The hearings are expected to last for three days.
His previous two-day hearing was in November.
Cosgrove was terminated by interim chief Yvette Gentry in January 2021. In his termination letter, Gentry said he did not properly identify a target when he fired 16 times into Taylor's Louisville apartment. In violation of standard operating procedure, Cosgrove also failed to activate his body camera prior to executing the search warrant, the letter stated. An FBI ballistics report found that Myles Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor.
During his Tuesday hearing, the defense called Mike Musengo, a former officer turned contracted trainer for the Force Science Insitute.
Musengo was presented as an expert, which LMPD's attorneys fought. The board ultimately decided to hear from him, on a recommendation from counsel.
Musengo said in use of force situations, police officers commonly fire more shots than suspects. He said tunnel vision, which Cosgrove described in his professional standards interviews, is common.
Musengo added the context of every scenario is different.
"At the end of the day, myself, there isn't a trainer out there involved in law enforcement training that's going to say that we can replicate what an officer is going to go through in this type of situation, it just can't be done in training," said Musengo.
LMPD's attorney took aim at Musengo's qualifications during his cross examination.
Musengo doesn't have a higher degree in force science, or a related field. He instead said his testimony would be informed by professional experience.
Musengo told LMPD's attorneys it is still an officer's duty to follow policy even in high-stress situations.
The second witness on the stand Tuesday was Myles Cosgrove himself, to clarify what he did and didn't remember from the night of the raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment.
Cosgrove's defense centered their arguments around the idea that Cosgrove acted reasonably in an incredibly high stress situation.
Previous witnesses focused on inconsistencies between Cosgrove's various investigation interviews.
Cosgrove said Tuesday he considers the hallway of the apartment that night a "fatal funnel," a law enforcement term he said indicates a doorway or narrow space in which a shot fired has a high probability of hitting someone.
Cosgrove said he still doesn't remember firing 16 times. In previous interviews, he said he only remembered firing four shots and he said that's still the case today.
However, he noted that he did see a tall, shadowy figure with a "round shape" attached, and was sure he saw a muzzle flash.
"That muzzle flash and that, and that silhouette there, it's like as burned into my mind if that makes sense. It's so clear and I know that that's what that is," he said.
The hearing took an emotional turn when Cosgrove was asked if he regretted that Breonna Taylor ended up being shot and killed.
After a long pause, he said he did, and that there is a lot of grief associated with taking a life.
"Of course I do," he said. "It’s horrible. It’s made me question faith. Um, it’s powerful to have taken a life, um, and to have to live with that, it’s not, I mean I can’t explain to you how regretful and how much grief that it has cause me.
Cosgrove said after the raid his children were harassed and he felt abandoned by LMPD.
Merit board members asked why he wanted his job back if that was the case.
"It’s a matter of principle," he said. "LMPD just can’t go around randomly doing things and having the narrative fit how they want it to believe.
The third witness of the day was Lt. Steven Lacefield from LMPD. He testified about details of LMPD's policies and trainings.
Lacefield said while target identification and isolation are not written into LMPD policy, they are taught to every officer.
He said those concepts do apply in use of force scenarios.
When training officers to handle stress, Lacefield said they will manufacture stressful situations, giving the example of having trainees complete a task while other officers are running and screaming.
He said they gradually add stressors to train officers to manage more challenging situations.
Lacefield said stressors are different for every officer.
"Everybody has a monster under the bed. And everybody's monster is different," he said.
The hearing is expected to continue Wednesday at 9 a.m.