Myles Cosgrove: LMPD detective describes chaos of deadly Breonna Taylor raid

Friday evening, October 2, 2020
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 7:56 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One of the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers who fired their weapons during the deadly Breonna Taylor raid told investigators he thought they were going to be killed.

In a 25-page transcript of his statements to LMPD’s Public Integrity Unit investigators, Det. Myles Cosgrove described seeing flashes of white in the dark apartment, as well as a shadowy figure.

The statement, obtained by WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters, was taken 12 days after the shooting. It was a voluntary interview with PIU detectives who investigate possible criminal cases involving city employees. Like in a criminal investigation, officers are not required to give a statement to PIU. They are required, however, to give statements to the department’s Professional Standards Unit, which investigates policy violations.

The investigator, Amanda Seeley, began the interview by asking Cosgrove to describe what happened the night Taylor was killed during a raid on her apartment just after midnight on March 13.

Cosgrove said the Criminal Interdiction team met at 10 p.m. to go over the warrants that were being served that night, including at Taylor’s apartment, and the suspected drug houses allegedly being operated by her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover.

Cosgrove said he considered Taylor a “soft target.”

“We were asked repeatedly ... during the briefing that this was a, what I like to call, a soft target,” Cosgrove said. “We were asked ... to please knock and announce, and to use our maturity as investigators to get into this house ... to not basically hit the door. Even though they had a no-knock warrant signed.”

A photo of that briefing appeared to corroborate what Cosgrove described. In that photo, Taylor’s address was listed as “knock and announce.” The SWAT Matrix, which is used to calculate the danger associated with a warrant execution, also indicated officers were expected to knock and announce.

The team met at a church near Taylor’s south Louisville apartment while Sgt. Jon Mattingly, who would later be shot by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, drove past the unit to confirm where they were going. Cosgrove told investigator Seeley that the unit wasn’t easy to access because of construction.

Once they arrived at the apartment, Cosgrove described standing next to Taylor’s sliding glass door.

“Someone in our group proceeds to knock on the door and knock and announce,” Cosgrove said. “Typically, we say, ‘Police search warrant, come to the door.’ I’m not sure exactly what they said verbatim, but I know I did hear the words, ‘Police search warrant.’ They knock and they knock and they knock and this goes on for probably a minute.”

He then described the now-indicted former Det. Brett Hankison “challenging” an individual at the door of the apartment directly upstairs from Taylor’s, adding that there was quite a bit of shouting.

One of the three LMPD officers who fired their weapons during the deadly Breonna Taylor raid told investigators he thought they were going to be killed.

“This is not a quote, but I hear something like, ‘Leave that girl alone,’” Cosgrove recalled the neighbor telling Hankison. “'There’s a girl in there' or something like that.”

Cosgrove described more than two minutes going by as he said they continued to knock and announce.

The more time goes by, Cosgrove said, the more nervous he got.

“It, like, gives me chills to think about how long we stayed out there,” he said. “Nobody cares if they’re in there destroying evidence. That’s really besides the point. It’s that they’re in there and they have this time to do something.”

Cosgrove described someone making the call to ram her door. He said recognizing that Officer Mike Nobles, who hit the door with the ram, didn’t have a cover person to his right. The other officers, he said, were behind him and to his left.

Cosgrove said the lack of a cover person was because LMPD was so short-staffed.

Nobles struck the door about three or four times, Cosgrove said.

Mattingly entered the apartment first, Cosgrove said, adding that he was right behind Mattingly.

Cosgrove then described the tragic, fatal seconds that followed.

“I am immediately overwhelmed by its darkness,” Cosgrove said. “As Jon Mattingly is more or less just past the threshold, the door, the doorframe, or the doorway, I see blinding, vivid, white light, and I see blackness at the same time. This dark, dark deep black and these vivid white flashes. At the same time, I’m seeing these flashes, I know that Jon Mattingly is at my feet.”

Cosgrove later described realizing that he was firing during those flashes of light. Cosgrove told Seeley that his surroundings went “completely mute,” as Mattingly was shuffling around him on the floor.

“I know that someone has been shot, that Jon has been injured,” Cosgrove said.

Then, he described seeing a shadowy mask.

“This figurine, this figure in front of me that is, it’s just, you know, it’s coming and going due to the flashing light,” he said. “This is all happening, in seconds.”

Cosgrove, while still standing at the threshold, saw Mattingly being scooted back behind him. Cosgrove then started stepping back from the threshold and the doorway mat into the stairwell outside the apartment.

“I still see these vivid white flashes, and I don’t see darkness anymore but I am seeing this vivid flashing, and I’m starting to see the bigger picture,” Cosgrove said before being able to start seeing colors and shapes again.

From there, Cosgrove described Mattingly being dragged next to an SUV parked in front of Taylor’s sliding glass door while officers worked on the gunshot wound to Mattingly’s femoral artery.

Cosgrove said he was still guarding the apartment at that time, worried the shooter could continue to fire on them.

“I look up at the apartment knowing that there is still a potential, that we may have to encounter somebody exiting this place,” Cosgrove said.

He said he realized at that moment that he needed to reload his gun.

“I said, ‘Unf**k yourselves and reload,’” he said.

Cosgrove then said he noticed Mattingly wasn’t safe from potential further gunfire, and they decide to move him. He ran to his car and drove it back to where they were working on Mattingly.

Cosgrove provided a tourniquet from his vest, which broke. He ran back to his car, which was next to a garbage dumpster, and drove it to where Mattingly was. He then said he took out his AR-15 from his trunk to cover the apartment from further gunfire.

Cosgrove said Hanksion yelled something about EMS.

“I know EMS is close, but they’re, they don’t know where we are exactly or they don’t want to come up to us,” Cosgrove said.

In the body-camera video obtained exclusively by WAVE 3 News Troubleshooters, another officer can be seen driving toward the chaotic scene before having to ram into a fence. That officer is also heard yelling about the location of EMS on the radio.

That officer then gave his tourniquet to the officer working on Mattingly.

Cosgrove said they then placed Mattingly on the trunk of Cosgrove’s car and started driving toward the ambulance, which is at the other side of the rammed fence.

Cosgrove continued to cover Taylor’s apartment.

In the body-camera video, officers can be heard saying “cover him.”

After a minute, Cosgrove said, one of the officers heard someone inside the apartment. Hankison then started calling that person out, Cosgrove stated.

He described the person coming out of the apartment extremely slowly. As he walked toward the officers, Cosgrove described seeing the canine and feeling it brush against him.

Cosgrove told the investigator this all happened while he continued to cover the door, feeling he and his colleagues were still in danger.

He continued doing so for “several minutes” until the SWAT unit arrived and took over.

Cosgrove said that at that point, he went behind the SWAT vehicle for safety.

A member of the department’s peer support group arrived about 15 or 20 minutes later, Cosgrove said, to escort him to the Public Integrity Unit’s office.

At this point in the interview, the investigator went back to the moments of the shooting. She asked Cosgrove how he determined there was a threat.

“I just see this flash, this vivid flash, and this distorted, shadowy figure,” Cosgrove said. “And I thought this would come back to me but I, that’s all I see, is this distorted, shadowy figure and that these flashes which are obviously a gun, uh, being fired.”

Cosgrove said he knew the figure was in front of him.

“I knew that clearly that Jon had been shot,” he said. “It was disturbing. It was, um, it wasn’t real. And the shadowy figure is, uh, it’s shrinking, if that makes sense, and it doesn’t make sense to me. The world is becoming really vividly black and white.”

Cosgrove described getting tunnel vision with his view becoming like looking through a “periscope or binoculars,” and losing his motor skills with a severity he’d never experienced before.

“I did not have hand sensation or recollection of that, that I’m firing a gun,” he said. “If you told me I didn’t fire a gun, I would be like, ‘OK, I believe you.’ But due to the fact that those flashes were happening, that’s why I would believe that there is gunfire going on.”

He added that he didn’t know the direction from which the gunfire was coming.

“It’s like my brain was kind of, like overloaded,” Cosgrove said.

The interview wrapped up by the investigator asking Cosgrove if he ever went back inside the apartment after the shooting. Cosgrove said he did not, adding that to his knowledge, no evidence was ever moved or manipulated.

“I just have one question,” Seeley said. “And I think you covered this adequately, but just to make sure the record’s clear. At the time that you were in that doorway ... with Mattingly, did you have any question in your mind that your all’s lives were in danger?”

“Absolutely not,” Cosgrove said. “I knew for a fact that we were in danger of being killed or seriously injured,” Cosgrove said.

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