A former Louisville, Kentucky, police officer who was involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor said Wednesday the incident was tragic but not racial.
In an interview with ABC News, Jonathan Mattingly spoke for the first time about the March 13 shooting death, which has sparked cries of outrage and calls for overhauling policing across the nation.
“This had nothing to do with race,” Mr. Mattingly told ABC’s Good Morning America. “Nothing at all.”
Mr. Mattingly said the Taylor case cannot be compared to the high-profile deaths of other Black citizens, including George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody after an officer knelt on his neck, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was fatally shot while jogging in Georgia. Prosecutors have charged three White civilians in Arbery’s death.
“This is not relatable to George Floyd. This is nothing like that,” he said. “It’s not Ahmaud Arbery. It’s nothing like it. These are two totally different types of incidences. It’s not a race thing like people want to try to make it to be. It’s not.”
Mr. Mattingly said Taylor “didn’t deserve to die,” but added that there was “a reason” the police were at her apartment that night.
“And if you’re [a] law-abiding citizen, the only contact you’ll probably ever have with the police is running into them [in a store] or if you get a speeding ticket. Other than that, unless you know them, you are not really dealing with the police,” he said.
On March 13, three officers executed a no-knock warrant at Taylor’s home as part of a drug investigation involving her ex-boyfriend.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at the officers saying he thought they were intruders. One of the bullets hit Mr. Mattingly in the thigh.
The officers unloaded 32 shots into the apartment, six of which hit Taylor, killing her.
None of the officers were charged directly with Ms. Taylor’s death, but Detective Brett Hankison faces criminal charges for wanton endangerment for firing shots that went through a neighbor’s apartment.