Officer Who Shot Breonna Taylor Fights For His Job Back

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A protestor holds a sign with Breonna Taylor’s picture on it. (Image courtesy of CNBC)

Melanie Vargas

Myles Cosgrove, a Louisville Police Officer who fired the shot that killed Breonna Taylor, is fighting to get his job back. Cosgrove was fired in January for failing to identify the threat when he fired the shots in Breonna Taylors apartment. Six of the 32 rounds fired by three officers struck Taylor, but the FBI concluded Cosgrove fired the fatal shot. Cosgrove is making his case before the Metro Police Merit Board during hearings scheduled for two days in November and three days in December of this year.

Former LMPD chief Yvette Gentry fired Myles Cosgrove for his role in Beonna Taylor’s death. In Cosgroves termination letter, Gentry said he did not properly identify the target when he fired sixteen times. The first witness to the stand the morning of November 10th was the former police chief herself. Gentry told attorneys she lost confidence in Cosgrove as an officer due to his actions. In a letter laying out her reasons for firing Cosgrove,  Chief Yvette Gentry said his rounds sprayed the apartment without being clear at what he was shooting. 

The department argues that Cosgrove was reckless, firing into Taylor’s apartment without knowing who he was shooting at. Cosgrove’s attorneys argue he made an instant life-or-death decision to protect himself and his partner. Much of the hearing on Wednesday morning focused on Cosgrove’s confusion and sensory loss during the shooting, including seeing a “shadowy” figure and flashes of light, being “deafened” by gunshots and being unsure how many times he fired his weapon. Cosgrove’s attorney, L. Scott Miller, argued in the appeal notice the ex-detective’s alleged violation was not consistent with the standard operating procedures as written at the time. 

The merit board also heard from another witness, Sgt. Andrew Meyer with LMPD’s professional standards unit. Meyer’s testimony focused on the investigation into the incident, and subsequent interviews with Cosgrove about what he heard and saw. He said there was no indication Cosgrove knew when he started firing or what he was firing at on the night Breonna Taylor died. Meyer was asked several questions about Cosgrove’s interviews and whether Cosgrove knew for certain that John Mattingly had been shot. In cross examination, Miller asked whether Cosgrove maintained through all his interviews that he believed the “bright flashes” were gunfire, though he didn’t initially identify them as muzzle flashes. Meyer confirmed that was true.

Cosgrove’s hearing will continue on Dec. 14-15. It was previously scheduled to resume on Dec. 13 but was pushed back a day because of a scheduling conflict for a board member. If a third day in December is needed, the board will also meet Dec. 16.