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Six Louisville cops under internal investigation for roles in fatal Breonna Taylor search

Louisville Courier-Journal logo Louisville Courier-Journal 9/21/2020 Darcy Costello and Tessa Duvall, Louisville Courier Journal
a group of people standing in front of a building: People observe the memorial for Breonna Taylor at Jefferson Square Park in Downtown Louisville, Ky., Friday evening, Sept. 4, 2020. Friday marked the 100th-straight day of people protesting to demand justice for Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, who was fatally shot by police in her apartment on March 13. © Sam Owens/Courier Journal People observe the memorial for Breonna Taylor at Jefferson Square Park in Downtown Louisville, Ky., Friday evening, Sept. 4, 2020. Friday marked the 100th-straight day of people protesting to demand justice for Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, who was fatally shot by police in her apartment on March 13.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Six Louisville Metro Police officers are under investigation by the department's Professional Standards Unit for their roles in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor, the department confirmed Monday.

That unit, which investigates whether officers broke department policies, has initiated its probe into the case, department spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said. 

LMPD did not say which potential policy violations it is investigating. The investigation could lead to disciplinary action against the officers ranging from a written reprimand to termination.

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The review is separate from the investigation conducted by LMPD's Public Integrity Unit, which forwarded its finding to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against any of the officers.

a man standing in a room: Louisville Metro Police Detective Michael Campbell, as photographed after the shooting at Breonna Taylor's apartment. © Provided to The Courier Journal Louisville Metro Police Detective Michael Campbell, as photographed after the shooting at Breonna Taylor's apartment.

Past coverage: Following Louisville settlement, all eyes on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

Cameron hasn't said when that decision will be made.

The LMPD officers under investigation by the Professional Standards Unit include Detective Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who fired their weapons at Taylor's apartment, along with Detective Joshua Jaynes, who swore out the affidavit to get the search warrant for Taylor's apartment and four other homes that night. 

It also includes detectives Tony James, Michael Campbell and Michael Nobles.

All the officers under internal investigation except Jaynes were at Taylor's apartment when the search warrant was initiated around 12:40 a.m. March 13, according to a police interview with Mattingly that's been made public.

a man standing in a room: Louisville Metro Police Detective Michael Nobles, as photographed after the shooting at Breonna Taylor's apartment. © Provided to The Courier Journal Louisville Metro Police Detective Michael Nobles, as photographed after the shooting at Breonna Taylor's apartment.

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Mattingly additionally identified one officer apparently not under investigation: Lt. Shawn Hoover.

Campbell, who had been tasked with surveilling Taylor's apartment before the raid, is a member of the Place-Based Investigations Squad that conducted the probe that led police to Taylor's apartment.

Nobles and James were members of the Interdiction Squad, according to a log provided by LMPD that showed officers' sworn assignments on March 13.

The officers at Taylor's apartment said they knocked on her door and announced their presence. Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, however, says he and Taylor didn't know who was knocking at the door. 

When police broke down the front door of the apartment, Walker fired one shot from his firearm, which police say struck Mattingly in the thigh, severing his femoral artery.

Three officers — Mattingly, Cosgrove and then-Detective Brett Hankison — returned fire, striking Taylor five times.

She died in her hallway.

More: Minute by minute: What happened the night Louisville police fatally shot Breonna Taylor

State law governing investigations into police officers' violation of departmental rules says "no public statements shall be made concerning the alleged violation by any person or persons of the consolidated local government or the police officer so charged, until final disposition of the charges."

It also adds a police officer cannot be compelled to speak or testify "by any person or body of a nongovernmental nature" as a condition of employment.

Hankison, who was fired in June for "blindly" firing his weapon into the apartment, was fired based on the Public Integrity Unit investigation. 

The department has refused to release that investigative file.

A white board police used to plan the search warrant operation March 13, shared by Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine in a May news conference, showed that Taylor's apartment was to be staffed by eight officers, plus a police dog. 

a close up of text on a whiteboard: Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine shared Louisville Metro Police's whiteboard from the night of Breonna Taylor's fatal shooting, as they planned how to execute a series of search warrants, in a Zoom call with reporters on Friday. © Courier Journal Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine shared Louisville Metro Police's whiteboard from the night of Breonna Taylor's fatal shooting, as they planned how to execute a series of search warrants, in a Zoom call with reporters on Friday.

In addition to Mattingly, Campbell, James, Cosgrove and Hankison, it included a "Knobles," a possible reference to Nobles.

Jaynes, the only officer under PSU investigation who was not present at Taylor's apartment, was at 2424 Elliott Ave. where a related search warrant was used around the same time as Taylor's. His name is listed on the seized property log and next to several items recovered that night.

The Place-Based Investigations Unit was surveilling several blocks of Elliott Avenue for suspected drug activity. That investigation eventually brought police to Taylor's door.

Taylor's ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover lived at 2424 Elliott Ave., and officers said they saw him picking up a package at her home then driving to a "known drug house." He also listed his address as hers, and officers saw her car at Elliott Avenue.

Police suspected Taylor was receiving drugs and drug money on Glover's behalf, but no drugs or cash were found at her apartment, and attorneys for her family have questioned the reliability of the information. 

James, one of the officers under the Professional Standards Unit investigation, was the subject of some controversy after a photo taken by LMPD subsequent to the shooting appeared to show him wearing a body camera on the right shoulder of his police vest.

Then-LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said at a news conference the day of Taylor's death that there was no video footage from "no body-worn video cameras" to share from the shooting.

It's not clear whether James had his camera activated while the search was being conducted. The photos also showed that Cosgrove had a body camera mount on his vest. 

Mattingly says he doesn't remember seeing James, but that when he was shot in the doorway, he knew James was behind him. He also says that Nobles was on the right side of Taylor's door.

Campbell, according to Mattingly's interview, fell off the curb between cars in the parking lot. Mattingly says he assumed he stumbled and fell back when shots were fired. 

Darcy Costello: 502-582-4834; dcostello@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @dctello. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/darcyc.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Six Louisville cops under internal investigation for roles in fatal Breonna Taylor search

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