LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly intends to file civil lawsuits against those who have called him a “murderer” for his role in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, according to an attorney.
In the tweet, McMurtry says: “They called him a ‘murderer,’ when all he did was defend himself.”
In an email to The Courier Journal on Friday, McMurtry said he represented Mattingly “with regard to affirmative claims he has against people who called him a ‘murderer.’ These statements are defamatory and actionable.”
He said that the intent was to file civil lawsuits related to those statements.
Murder is a criminal charge that includes intent to kill. Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Mattingly and another officer, Myles Cosgrove, acted in self-defense after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at them.
Walker says he didn’t know he was firing at police.
Only one officer involved in the shooting — former officer Brett Hankison — will face criminal charges in state court. None of his three wanton endangerment charges are directly related to Taylor, but rather for shooting into a neighboring apartment where three people were present.
Mattingly sent an email to more than 1,000 of his colleagues earlier this week, before the grand jury decision, that said he and other officers “did the legal, moral and ethical thing” the night of the shooting.
“You DO NOT DESERVE to be in this position,” he wrote. “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.”
A spokesman for Mattingly’s criminal defense attorney declined to comment on McMurtry’s hiring or how he obtained the video.
Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police Department, did not immediately respond to questions about how McMurtry obtained the video when the department has consistently denied the release of videos of documents related to the Taylor case.
Mattingly remains on administrative reassignment following the grand jury decision on Wednesday that did not indict him on any charges. He remains under an internal investigation, like five other officers involved in the shooting, for possible police policy violations.
Cameron, whose office presented the case to the grand jury, said on Wednesday that FBI ballistics analysis determined that Detective Myles Cosgrove fired the shot that killed 26-year-old Taylor. However, previous ballistics analysis by the Kentucky State Police could not determine who fired the fatal shot.
Cosgrove, Mattingly and Hankison were trying to serve a “no-knock” search warrant at Taylor South End apartment shortly before 1 a.m. March 13.
When they broke in the door, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired one shot from his Glock handgun, saying later he didn’t realize it was police at the door. Officials say that shot hit Mattingly in the thigh, severing an artery.
Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison fire roughly 30 shots in return, hitting Taylor, who was unarmed, six times and killing her in her hallway.
Cameron said Cosgrove and Mattingly were justified in returning fire after Mattingly was shot under Kentucky’s self-defense laws.
McMurtry started hinting about lawsuits in June.
“To accuse an innocent person of a crime is inherently defamatory,” McMurtry said in a statement to The Courier Journal in June, following several of his tweets about the subject, which appear to have since been deleted.
“I watched the video from The Jefferson County commonwealth attorney. In that video, he was very clear in stating that the warrant on Breonna Taylor’s home was lawful. While one of the officers has been fired, the other two appear not to have committed any crimes. So, to call them ‘murderers’ is defamatory.”
McMurtry lost to Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie in a primary challenge in April. He also was one of the attorneys who represented former Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann in his defamation lawsuits against CNN and the Washington Post, which have been settled
Sandmann was at the Indigenous Peoples March in January 2019 when a video clip of his encounter with a Native American when viral.
Last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 2020 reelection campaign hired Sandmann. He lists himself as a grassroots director for Team Mitch on his Twitter account. Sandmann also spoke at the Republican National Convention in August.
Lucas Aulbach and Jonathan Bullington contributed reporting. Matt Mencarini for the Louisville Courier Journal: @MattMencarini
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Breonna Taylor: Jonathan Mattingly to sue over ‘murderer’ accusations