Cop Who Killed Breonna Taylor Says It Was ‘Traumatic for Everybody’

While arguing to get his job back, former Louisville police officer Myles Cosgrove wanted everyone to know how hard the shooting was on him.
This photo released by the Louisville (Kentucky) Police shows Louisville Police Det. Myles Cosgrove after a narcotics raid on March 13, 2020.
This photo released by the Louisville (Kentucky) Police shows Louisville Police Det. Myles Cosgrove after a narcotics raid on March 13, 2020. (Louisville Police via AP)

After nearly a year of complaining about how tough his life has been since firing 16 shots inside Breonna Taylor’s home—including the one that killed her—former Louisville police officer Myles Cosgrove has finally learned he’s not getting his job back.

On Wednesday, the Louisville Metro Police Merit Board voted 5-2 in favor of upholding Cosgrove’s termination from the department.

The board found that the Louisville police department made the right call when they fired Cosgrove for violating the department’s procedures on deadly use of force during the execution of a search warrant at Taylor’s home and for failing to turn on his body camera at the time of the shooting.

“Tonight's decision should say to the public and to the officers of LMPD that policies and procedures are in place for a reason, and when policies and procedures are violated, then there's consequences,” Louisville Councilwoman Paula McCraney said after the vote.

As Cosgrove made the appeal for getting his job back, however, he argued that Taylor’s family weren’t the only ones affected by the 26-year-old EMT’s death.

“This event is traumatic for everybody. I’ve had to relocate. I’ve had to take my kids out of school. I’ve received death threats to this day,” he said before the panel Tuesday, according to local CBS affiliate WLKY. “The department disowned me. It’s horribly tragic. But again, my feelings and concerns are almost secondary in this event.”


Cosgrove and three of his former colleagues involved in the raid of Taylor’s home, Brett Hankison, Joshua Jaynes, and Johnathan Mattingly, were either fired or walked away from the department between June 2020 and April 2021. And Cosgrove’s complaints started in January 2021, when both he and Jaynes wrote letters to their fellow officers saying that their termination was the result of political pressure.

"It seems our higher-ranking officials will support us in our efforts to protect ourselves and others, just as long as there isn't a group of protesters or political pressures demanding otherwise," Cosgrove wrote. "Your leaders aren't afraid to perform hatchet jobs on you either."

In mid-2020, Cosgrove’s family also started a fundraiser on the Christian crowdfunding website Give Send Go to raise money for his retirement. As of this writing, more than $61,000 have been raised of its $75,000 goal.

“Most people simply don’t understand what it’s like to be a police officer in America today,” the fundraiser’s description reads. “Most people don’t know what it’s like, as a career, to put your life on the line on the daily basis to simply serve and protect your community. Most people don’t know what it’s like to have a weapon fired at you.”

On March 13, 2020, Louisville police obtained a search warrant for Taylor’s home in their effort to investigate her ex-boyfriend. Taylor, who was 26 at the time of her death, was not living with this ex-boyfriend but in another part of the city altogether with her then-current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.

Even though police had already arrested the man they were looking for across town, officers Cosgrove, Hankison and Mattingly executed the warrant (which was obtained by Jaynes) on Taylor’s home in plain clothes in the middle of the night. The officers knocked on the apartment door, according to the state attorney general’s investigation of the shooting. But Walker says that the officers never identified themselves after signaling their presence. Mistaking the officers for intruders, Walker fired one shot from his legal firearm in their direction and hit Mattingly in the leg.

The officers responded with a volley of shots of their own, five of which struck Taylor, according to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. But it was Cosgrove who fired the fatal bullet.

Last September, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced that a grand jury decided not to press charges against the officers in Taylor’s death. Only Hankison was charged in relation to the shooting, and he wasn’t charged with Taylor’s death but for recklessly endangering the lives of those living in the apartment next door. He’s pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of wanton endangerment and is expected to face trial sometime next year.

It was later reported by local news outlet WDRB that Cameron never asked the jury to consider homicide charges in Taylor’s death because Walker fired his weapon first, therefore, justifying their use of force.

Taylor’s death, along with George Floyd’s in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery’s in Brunswick, Georgia, set in motion protests against brutal policing in Black communities in the U.S. last summer. But while both of those cases have since had outcomes that appear to reflect a new legal attitude toward police accountability, Taylor’s death was met with the kind of inaction that many Americans have come to expect.