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Joshua Jaynes: Former detective’s termination upheld

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 4:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2021 at 12:11 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Following three days of testimony before an LMPD Merit Board, the termination of a detective involved in the Breonna Taylor investigation was upheld Wednesday.

Det. Joshua Jaynes was fired in January, about nine months after the narcotics raid at Taylor’s home that left the 26-year-old Louisville woman bleeding to death on the floor.

>> COMPLETE COVERAGE: The Breonna Taylor case

Former interim chief Yvette Gentry fired him after it was discovered Jaynes lied on the request for the warrant that allowed the raid. Jaynes indicated he had personally confirmed with the U.S. postal inspector that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, convicted drug trafficker Jamarcus Glover, was receiving packages at her home. It was later learned that another officer involved in the investigation and subsequent raid, Sgt. Jon Mattingly, gave that confirmation to Jaynes.

Jaynes’ emotional testimony late Wednesday afternoon included pleas to the board that he was just doing his job.

“I’m here today because I believe I didn’t do anything wrong,” Jaynes said. “Am I a human being? Yes. Am I a police officer? Well, I was a police officer. But I did everything to the best of my knowledge, I did.”

Jaynes continued his case, claiming he didn’t lie on the warrant when he said he’d verified packages were going to Taylor’s home, instead of saying it was Mattingly who made the call.

“I’m here because I relied on the information of another officer,” Jaynes said.

That discrepancy was enough for Gentry to fire Jaynes for untruthfulness. But, when questioned Tuesday, Gentry admitted she wasn’t aware of a key interview by Det. Kelly Goodlett backing up Jaynes’ claims about what Mattingly had told him. Goodlett had been interviewed by LMPD’s Professional Standards Unit and the FBI.

“Was Chief Gentry mistaken?” Jaynes’ attorney, Thomas Clay, asked Jaynes.

“Yes,” he replied.

Jaynes said he’s written dozens of warrants without any of them being questioned. He added that no one wanted anything bad to happen when executing the warrants.

“It’s been tough for me, to be here, the embarrassment has taken on me, on my family, for something that I believe it didn’t do,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday, a former LMPD assistant chief testified that she heard Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer say he wanted the officers involved in the Taylor raid fired long before the investigation was complete.

Lavita Chavous, who retired as a colonel from the department in February, said she thought Fischer’s comments at the time were “inappropriate” because the department’s Professional Standards Unit had just begun its investigation.

The statements she said Fischer made were at the Emergency Operations Center during a night of protests.

Chavous’ testimony came during the Merit Board hearing for former LMPD Det. Joshua Jaynes. Jaynes secured the warrant that led narcotics officers to Taylor’s home the night she was killed last year. He was fired this year after it was learned that he lied on the warrant request.

Clay argued that Jaynes was made a political scapegoat whose termination was planned before the facts about the case were fully known.

Fischer denied that during a 90-minute interrogation during which he declined to answer all questions directly. Most of his answers included a lack of recollection, or answers that included the phrase, “not specifically.”

The mayor also testified he was not involved in the internal investigation on the Taylor case, or being involved in any other investigation or disciplinary matters involving LMPD. When pressed, Fischer admitted he “may have been briefed” on cases.

Fischer also denied that he, or any member of his office, had anything to do with the creation of Place Based Investigations, the newly-formed unit assigned to investigate Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, convicted drug trafficker Jamarcus Glover.

Chavous testified Fischer, Deputy Mayor Ellen Hessen, former Public Safety Director Amy Hess and several others attended meetings about PBI during its creation. She said she specifically recalled one meeting Fischer attended at the department’s headquarters, adding that former LMPD Chief Steve Conrad also attended.

Jaynes was fired from the department for alleged untruthfulness related to a line in the warrant for Taylor’s home. Jaynes wrote he’d verified the information about packages being delivered to her home in Glover’s name. However, Sgt. Jon Mattingly had made that call and relayed the information to Jaynes.

All four members of the LMPD Merit Board voted to uphold Jaynes’ termination. Clay is expected to appeal the decision.

Breonna Taylor’s Family Lawyer released this statement Wednesday evening: “I am happy that the merit board did the right thing and unanimously upheld Chief Gentry’s decision to terminate Joshua Jaynes. It is my hope that other officers take this moment and realize that there are repercussions for their actions. Police officers cannot take shortcuts that put lives in danger. Next, I hope to see indictments come from the Department of Justice for all officers that played a role in the murder of my daughter Breonna.”

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