2 Louisville police officers fired over roles in fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor
The Louisville Metro Police Department fired two officers involved in the botched raid that resulted in Breonna Taylor’s death and, in part, launched a summer of protests, authorities said.
Detectives Joshua Jaynes and Myles Cosgrove learned last week that the department intended to fire them, and those terminations became official on Tuesday, according to a letter from Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Yvette Gentry to the officers.
Cosgrove violated standard operating procedures for deadly force and failure to activate his body-worn camera, the chief said.
Jaynes was was fired for two departmental violations tied to his work securing the search warrant for the deadly March 13 raid, according to Gentry, the outgoing interim department head.
Taylor, who had no criminal record, was with boyfriend Kenneth Walker when plainclothes officers entered her apartment in the early morning hours to serve a no-knock search warrant in a drug case.
Walker, who had a license to carry a weapon, called 911 believing the home was being invaded by criminals and opened fire, wounding one of the officers in the leg.
That’s when police returned fire, and Taylor was killed. Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said in September.
Cosgrove fired 16 rounds but had no idea where he was firing, the chief said.
“The shots you fired went in three different directions, indicating you did not verify a threat or have target acquisition,” according to Gentry. “In other words, the evidence shows that you fired wildly at unidentified subjects or targets located within an apartment.”
The chief added: “I cannot justify your conduct nor in good conscience recommend anything less than termination.”
Jaynes was not at Taylor’s apartment when gunfire erupted, but hours earlier he secured the search warrant that led to the deadly confrontation.
Police raided Taylor’s home in a narcotics investigation of her former boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover.
Jaynes was “untruthful” in the search-warrant application, stating that a U.S. Postal inspector told him that Glover had been receiving mail at Taylor’s apartment, according to the chief.
Jaynes “failed to inform the judge that you had no contact with the” postal inspector, Gentry wrote. “Your sworn information was not only inaccurate, it was not truthful.”
Jaynes’ attorney Thomas Clay said his client will appeal to a city board that reviews police terminations.
“He’s being made a scapegoat,” Clay told NBC News on Wednesday, saying the March 13 raid was “fully briefed” to the highest levels of the police department before it happened.
“There is a culpability, if there is any culpability, it goes to the highest levels of Louisville metro government. He did nothing wrong. Joshua Jaynes did nothing wrong.”
A lawyer for Cosgrove could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday. But the River City Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing the Louisville officers, said in a statement it will continue to back their members’ appeal.
“The FOP believes that the terminations of Detectives Cosgrove and Jaynes are unjustified,” the union said.
“There is certainly no evidence in this case that policies and procedures of the LMPD were violated to the extent that warranted termination. Interim Chief Gentry not only made the wrong decision, but also sent an ominous message to every sworn officer of the Louisville Metro Police Department.”
The deaths of Taylor in Louisville and of George Floyd while he was in Minneapolis police custody, and the initial decisions not to charge the individuals involved in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery near Brunswick, Georgia, fueled a summer of international protests against systemic racism.
Despite the outcry against Taylor’s shooting, no criminal charges were brought in her death.
Instead, former Louisville police Det. Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, was charged for allegedly firing blindly into an apartment and recklessly endangering Taylor’s neighbors.