2 Louisville police officers fired for roles in Breonna Taylor shooting

One officer shot Taylor; the other prepared the search warrant.

January 06, 2021, 2:28 PM

Two Louisville police officers have been fired from the department for their roles in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

The terminations of officer Myles Cosgrove and Det. Joshua Jaynes were made official on Tuesday in letters from interim Police Chief Yvette Gentry, who held closed-door hearings with the officers and their attorneys on Monday.

Cosgrove, who fired the shot that killed Taylor per a ballistics analysis, and Jaynes, who prepared the search warrant, received pre-termination letters last week.

PHOTO: From left, Detective Myles Cosgrove, who shot Breonna Taylor, and Detective Joshua Jaynes, who prepared the search warrant for the raid in Taylor's apartment.
From left, Detective Myles Cosgrove, who shot Breonna Taylor, and Detective Joshua Jaynes, who prepared the search warrant for the raid in Taylor's apartment. Both officers were told that the interim police chief was moving to fire them.
Louisville Metropolitan Police Department/The New York Times via Redux

Gentry said Cosgrove violated use of deadly force procedure when he fired 16 rounds into Taylor's apartment. Two rounds hit Taylor, one of which was fatal.

In Gentry's termination letter to Cosgrove, she said he "did not describe target/threat isolation or target/threat identification but instead you describe flashes that you did not properly evaluate as a threat."

Gentry wrote that Standard Operating Procedure says the "person against whom the force is used must pose 'an immediate threat of death or serious injury.'"

Cosgrove's shots went in three different directions "indicating you did not verify a threat or have a target acquisition," she wrote.

Gentry said Cosgrove also violated Standard Operating Procedure by failing to activate his camera in recording mode.

"Despite your years of service, I cannot justify your conduct nor in good conscience recommend anything less than termination," she wrote.

PHOTO: This photo released by the Louisville Ky., Police shows Louisville Police Det. Myles Cosgrove after a narcotics raid on March 13, 2020.
This photo released by the Louisville Ky., Police shows Louisville Police Det. Myles Cosgrove after a narcotics raid on March 13, 2020.
Louisville Police via AP

Cosgrove's attorney, Jarrod Beck, said Dec. 29, "I can confirm that Mr. Cosgrove has received a pre-termination notice. Otherwise, we have no comment."

Jaynes wasn't at the shooting but prepared the search warrant for Taylor's apartment.

In Gentry's termination letter to Jaynes, she said he violated the Standard Operating Procedure for truthfulness. She accused him of being untruthful in the search warrant affidavit when he said he verified through a U.S. postal inspector that Taylor's ex-boyfriend had been receiving packages at Taylor's address.

"You did not have contact with a US Postal Inspector. You did not 'verify' this statement you swore to in the affidavit," Gentry wrote. "I acknowledge that you believe you prepared the search warrant in good faith. However, you failed to inform the judge that you had no contact with the US Postal Inspector. Your sworn information was not only inaccurate; it was not truthful."

Jaynes' lawyer, Thomas Clay, said via email on Dec. 29, "I fully expect Mr. Jaynes will be terminated after the 'hearing' no matter what the evidence is to the contrary. We will appeal any disciplinary action taken against Mr. Jaynes because I believe the evidence shows he did nothing wrong."

Louisville's River City Fraternal Order of Police called the firings "unjustified" and vowed to stand with the officers during the appeal process.

"There is certainly no evidence in this case that policies and procedures of the LMPD were violated to the extent that warranted termination," the FOP said in a statement. "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."

Cosgrove and Jaynes had been on administrative reassignment following the March 13 shooting that killed the 26-year-old emergency room technician.

Taylor was shot after officers arrived at her door in the middle of the night trying to execute a warrant as part of an investigation into a suspected drug operation allegedly linked to her ex-boyfriend.

PHOTO: This undated file photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.
This undated file photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.
Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File

Taylor's boyfriend, who said he thought intruders were trying to break in, fired a shot. The officers returned fire, fatally shooting Taylor.

Initially one officer, Brett Hankison, was fired, and no charges were brought against the officers, igniting protests across the country.

PHOTO: A portrait of Breonna Taylor is displayed during a demonstration in what is now called Injustice Square Park in downtown Louisville, Ky., Sept. 26, 2020.
A portrait of Breonna Taylor is displayed during a demonstration in what is now called Injustice Square Park in downtown Louisville, Ky., Sept. 26, 2020.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Images, FILE

Kentucky State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the officers were justified in their use of deadly force because Walker fired the first shot.

Months later, Cameron convened a grand jury that indicted Hankison on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment for firing into the apartment directly behind Taylor's, where three people were inside. Hankison pleaded not guilty.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who also fired into Taylor's home, has not been dismissed by the department. Mattingly was shot in the leg during the raid.

None of the officers were charged in connection with Taylor’s death.

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