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Breonna Taylor case: who are Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove?

Only Brett Hankison has been criminally charged, but what else do we know about the three officers present at the killing of Breonna Taylor? 

Breonna Taylor case: who are Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove?
Natasha Moustache AFP

Following the decision by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron yesterday to charge Brett Hankison with three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree, there have been nationwide protests in outrage that not only have the other two officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove not been charged, but that the felony Hankison has been indicted for, doesn’t even directly relate to Taylor’s death, rather the endangerment of her neighbours by wanton gunfire.

Breonna Taylor case: what we know about the officers

What do we know about the former Detective Hankison and the other officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor?

Brett Hankison

Hankison was fired from LMPD in June 2020 after interim Chief Robert Schroeder said he fired indiscriminately into Breonna Taylor's apartment and adjoining units. He has now been criminally charged with wanton endangerment relating to the incident.

Brett Hankison (44) had been at the LMPD since 2003. He joined the Narcotics Unit in 2016. Before his time in Louisville, Hankison was previously based in Lexington, Kentucky.

Upon his resignation, his supervisor at Lexington recommended against rehiring him in the future. In a memo obtained by the Lexington Herald-Leader, supervisor Patrick McBride wrote;

"Based on my observations and supervision of this officer for the past calendar year, I would not recommend him for reemployment at any time in the future," citing specifically Hankison’s “violation of standing orders, refusal to accept supervision, and general poor attitude toward the Division of Police and its commanding staff.”

Analysing LMPD personnel files for Hankison it has been reported that he received one letter of appreciation in both 2003 and 2004 and 44 letters of commendation during his time at the force.

There have also been several serious claims of sexual assault against Hankison which came to light on social media following the publicity surrounding Breonna Taylor’s death.

Jonathan Mattingly

Jonathan Mattingly (47) joined the LMPD in 2000, and was sworn in as a sergeant nine years later.

Following Breonna Taylor’s death in March 2020, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was placed on administrative reassignment and now faces a Professional Standards Unit investigation to determine whether he and five other officers, including Myles Cosgrove, violated police policy or rules for their conduct in the aborted search of Taylor's home. The FBI is also conducting its own investigation of the shooting.

During the search at Taylor’s home her boyfriend Kenneth Walker who alleges that the officers did not announce themselves on entry, opened fire thinking that they were intruders. After an exchange of gunfire, Mattingly was shot in the thigh, later requiring surgery.

Mattingly called protesters “thugs” and said that he and his colleagues "did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night" when they fired their weapons during the search of Taylor's apartment, in a private email Tuesday. Writing at 2:00am to over 1,000 colleagues at LMPD, he added that “Your civil rights mean nothing,” he wrote, “but the criminal has total autonomy.”

Following the incident no drugs or money were found at Taylor’s address.

Myles Cosgrove

After the killing of Breonna Taylor in March, Detective Myles Cosgrove was placed on administrative reassignment and faces a Professional Standards Unit investigation, alongside Jonathan Mattingly. The FBI is conducting its own investigation of the shooting.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron declared Wednesday that FBI analysis determined Cosgrove fired the fatal shot and that she would have died from the shot within seconds or minutes.

Cosgrove (42) was hired by the LMPD in 2005, shortly after graduating from police academy.

In 2006, he shot 11 times at a car at a gas station in Louisville. The driver and the passengers sued him for excessive force and arresting them without probable cause. He was temporarily placed on paid administrative leave but a federal judge found that he had sufficient facts to pull the car over.

It has been reported that Cosgrove has historically been reprimanded for making unprofessional comments to a community member, and failure to exercise patience and diplomacy when dealing with a member of the public.

He received 16 letters of appreciation, 10 commendations for various achievements and 18 letters of commendation during his time at LMPD.

Breonna Taylor killing: what happened?

On March 13 2020, three LMPD officers entered Breonna Taylor’s home under a ‘no-knock’ entry warrant linked to a drugs investigation into Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker was at home with her.

Walker, believing the police were intruders and claiming that the officers did not announce themselves as police (required by law) shot and injured one of the officers. During the incident 26-year-old Taylor (an emergency room technician) was shot at least 5 times and died in the apartment.