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2 Louisville Police Officers Connected To Breonna Taylor’s Death Have Been Fired

Photo caption:

Photo by Taylor family

Emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot and killed by police in her home in March. Her name has become a rallying cry in protests against police brutality and social injustice.

Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET

A pair of Louisville, Ky., police officers connected to the raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment last year were formally terminated from the force, a spokesperson for the Louisville Metro Police Department confirmed Wednesday.

The termination letters, signed by interim Police Chief Yvette Gentry, said Detective Joshua Jaynes, who secured the warrant for the March 13 raid on Taylor's home, and Detective Myles Cosgrove, who federal investigators said fired the fatal shot that killed Taylor, were dismissed from the force as of Tuesday.

Each has 10 days to appeal the police department's decision.

The announcement of the terminations comes the same day Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer formally announced the hiring of Erika Shields, who previously led the Atlanta Police Department, as LMPD's next police chief.

She is slated to be sworn in as Louisville's top cop on Jan. 19.

Both Cosgrove and Jaynes have been on paid leave in the months since the shooting and in late December received notification from Gentry that LMPD intended to sever their employment.

Earlier this week a lawyer for Jaynes told Louisville NPR member station WFPL his client's dismissal from LMPD would not come as a surprise.

"I think the outcome [has] already been pre-determined," Thomas Clay said to WFPL. "I think Detective Jaynes is going to be terminated. And we're prepared to do what needs to be done in order to appeal that decision."

Jaynes is accused of providing false information in the search warrant application, the Louisville Courier Journal has reported.

In a separate report last week, the paper noted that Cosgrove did not identify a specific target as he fired more than a dozen rounds in Taylor's apartment during the overnight raid, according to a pre-termination letter from LMPD that the Courier Journal obtained.

The letter also found that Cosgrove violated the department's use-of-force protocols as well as failed to use his body camera, according to the paper.

None of the officers who discharged their service weapons during the raid faces criminal charges for Taylor's death.

Dispute over charging decisions

Another member of the search party, former Officer Brett Hankison, was terminated from LMPD in June.

A Kentucky grand jury indicted Hankison in September on three counts of wanton endangerment for his role in shooting into an apartment unit near Taylor's.

When Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky attorney general, announced Hankison's indictment during a press briefing on Sept. 23, he said that Cosgrove, who fired the fatal shot, and another officer, Jonathan Mattingly, "were justified in their use of force."

Both Cosgrove and Mattingly fired into Taylor's apartment after her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, first fired upon them.

Walker has maintained that the couple did not hear officers announce themselves before entering the apartment. He also said he mistook them for intruders. Walker, a licensed gun owner, said he fired a warning shot, which struck Mattingly in the leg.

That prompted officers to return fire.

In October, Mattingly filed a counter-suit against Walker, saying that Walker committed assault, battery and intentional emotional distress. Earlier that month, Mattingly sat down for an interview with ABC News and the Courier Journal where he claimed that the Taylor shooting was "not a race thing like people try to make it to be."

Breonna Taylor's name became a rallying cry, along with George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Jacob Blake and other Black Americans who were killed or seriously injured by law enforcement last year. Those encounters sparked a national reckoning on race and social inequities in the United States and internationally.

One of the grand jurors in the Taylor case said the move to terminate additional officers made him feel "vindicated," according to WFPL. The grand juror, who has remained anonymous, has joined two others in coming forward to raise concerns about how Cameron, the attorney general, presented the case.

Cameron had said grand jurors agreed with not charging any of the officers for the killing of Taylor.

However, the three grand jurors have said they not only disagreed with Cameron's characterization, but also said they pressed for more charges to be considered, but those requests were rebuffed by prosecutors.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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