Matt Mencarini, Louisville Courier Journal
Published 10:58 a.m. ET Sept. 25, 2020 | Updated 11:21 a.m. ET Sept. 25, 2020
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly intends to file civil lawsuits against those who have called him a “murderer” for his role in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, according to an attorney.
Todd McMurtry posted video to Twitter on Thursday night that appeared to show Mattingly being put onto the back of a truck bed and driven away after he was shot March 13 at Taylor’s apartment.
In the tweet, McMurtry says: “They called him a ‘murderer,’ when all he did was defend himself.”
In an email to The Courier Journal on Friday, McMurtry said he represented Mattingly “with regard to affirmative claims he has against people who called him a ‘murderer.’ These statements are defamatory and actionable.”
He said that the intent was to file civil lawsuits related to those statements.
Murder is a criminal charge that includes intent to kill. Only one officer involved in the shooting — former officer Brett Hankison — will face criminal charges in state court. None of his three wanton endangerment charges are directly related to Taylor, but rather for shooting into neighboring apartments.
McMurtry was one of the attorneys who represented former Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann in his defamation lawsuits against CNN and the Washington Post, which have been settled. McMurtry lost to Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie in a primary challenge in April.
A spokesman for Mattingly’s criminal defense attorney declined to comment on McMurtry’s hiring or how he obtained the video.
McMurtry did not immediately respond to questions about how he obtained the video and whether he has more than have not been released publicly.
Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police Department, did not immediately respond to questions about how McMurtry obtained the video when the department has consistently denied the release of videos of documents related to the Taylor case.
Mattingly remains on administrative reassignment following the grand jury decision on Wednesday that did not indict him on any charges. He remains under an internal investigation, like five other officers involved in the shooting, for possible police policy violations.
Mattingly sent an email to more than 1,000 of his colleagues earlier this week, before the grand jury decision, that said he and other officers “did the legal, moral and ethical thing” the night of the shooting.
“You DO NOT DESERVE to be in this position,” he wrote. “The position that allows thugs to get in your face and yell, curse and degrade you. Throw bricks bottles and urine on you and expect you to do nothing.”
Attorney General Daniel Cameron, whose office presented the case to the grand jury, said on Wednesday that FBI ballistics analysis determined that Detective Myles Cosgrove fired the shot that killed 26-year-old Taylor. However, previous ballistics analysis by the Kentucky State Police could not determine who fired the fatal shot.
Cosgrove, Mattingly and Hankison were trying to serve a “no-knock” search warrant at Taylor South End apartment shortly before 1 a.m. March 13.
When they broke in the door, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot from his Glock handgun, saying later he didn’t realize it was police at the door. Officials say that shot hit Mattingly in the thigh, severing an artery.
Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison fire roughly 30 shots in return, hitting Taylor, who was unarmed, six times and killing her in her hallway.
Cameron said Cosgrove and Mattingly were justified in returning fire after Mattingly was shot under Kentucky’s self-defense laws.
Matt Mencarini for the Louisville Courier Journal: @MattMencarini
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