Leaked Email Shows Cop Involved in Breonna Taylor Raid Calling Protesters 'Thugs'

"You DO NOT DESERVE to be in this position," he writes. "The position that allows thugs to get in your face and yell, curse and degrade you."
September 23, 2020, 12:27am
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Times Square, New York, US, on August 9, 2020 to call for justice in the case of Breonna Taylor. (Photo by Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto via AP)​
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Times Square, New York, US, on August 9, 2020 to call for justice in the case of Breonna Taylor. (Photo by Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto via AP)

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As Louisville braces for the imminent decision on whether any of the cops involved in the raid that killed Breonna Taylor will be prosecuted, one of the officers sent an email to over 1,000 of his fellow officers openly criticizing city leadership, the FBI, and the investigation.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who was shot in the leg during the botched March 13 raid at Taylor’s apartment, fired off a six-paragraph email, first shared with VICE News by a source within the Louisville Metro Police Department, who described it as “insane.” In the email, which was sent at 2 a.m. Tuesday, Mattingly attempts to reassure his colleagues in the LMPD while also apologizing for his part in the escalating tensions between the department and the general public.

“I’m not here to give you a rah-rah you got this speech,” Mattingly writes in the email, whose authenticity was confirmed to VICE News by his attorney. “I’m here to tell you I’m sorry you have to go through this. I’m sorry your family has to go through this. I’m sorry the Mayor, Amy Hess and Chief Conrad failed all of us in epic proportions for their own gain and to cover their asses.”

Mattingly is one of at least seven officers who carried out the botched narcotics raid that led to the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT. On Monday, the Louisville Metro Police Department told the Courier Journal  it was investigating Mattingly and five other officers for policy violations in connection to the raid. Mattingly is one of three officers to have fired their weapon, according to the department. He’s been on administrative leave since March, along with Myles Cosgrove. Officer Brett Hankison was fired from his post in June.

In addition to calling out a lack of support from fellow agencies investigating the raid, Mattingly mockingly refers to protesters as “peaceful” but also as “thugs.”

“You DO NOT DESERVE to be in this position,” he writes. “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. It goes against everything we were taught in the academy. The position that if you make a mistake during one of the most stressful times in your career, the department, and FBI (who aren’t cops and would piss their pants if they had to hold the line) go after you for civil rights violations.”

The officer also says that the investigation represents a larger moral battle.

“We all signed up to be police officers. We knew the risks and were willing to take them, but we always assumed the city had your back,” he writes. “This is not an us against society, but it is good versus evil.”

“I want you to know that I’m still proud to be a cop,” he continues later in the email. “No matter the ineptitude in upper command, or the mayor’s office, this is one of the greatest jobs on earth. With that being said, the next few days are going to be tough. They are going to be long, they are going to be frustrating.”

Attorney General Daniel Cameron is expected to announce the grand jury’s decision on whether to prosecute the officers involved in Taylor’s death in the coming days. In preparation, Kentucky leaders have been bracing for the worst.

The Louisville Metro Police Department has preemptively enacted a state of emergency, canceling all scheduled vacation days within the department, and has barricaded the city’s downtown area, including Jefferson Square, where protesters have been gathering regularly since May. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has told the public that he’s ready to deploy both the state police and the National Guard in case of civil unrest.

“Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral, and ethical thing that night,” Mattingly writes. “It’s sad how the good guys are demonized and the criminals are canonized.”

Roberto Ferdman contributed to this report.