Breonna Taylor 'attached to me' for rest of life, police officer says

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FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Protesters march through downtown Louisville
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Protesters march through downtown Louisville

(Reuters) - In his first public comments since Breonna Taylor was killed by Louisville police seven months ago, one of the officers involved said he would have conducted the raid differently and said the incident would be with him for the rest of his life.

In an interview with ABC News and the Courier Journal newspaper, Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly expressed sympathy for the relatives of Taylor, whose death has been one focus of nationwide protests against police brutality and racism this year.

"I feel for her. I hurt for her mother and for her sisters," Mattingly, a two-decade veteran of the Louisville Metro Police Department, said in the interview.

"It's not just a passing 'Oh, this is part of the job, we did it and move on.' It's not like that. I mean Breonna Taylor is now attached to me for the rest of my life. And that's not again, 'Woe is me.' That's me feeling for them."

Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician, was shot and killed during a botched police raid of her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky in the early hours of March 13.

Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, who was with her when the police burst into the home, fired once at what he said he believed were criminal intruders, wounding Mattingly.

Three police officers responded with 32 shots, six of which struck Taylor, killing her. The officers have said they repeatedly identified themselves while executing a search warrant in relation to a drug investigation focused on Taylor's ex-boyfriend. No drugs were found in her apartment.

Mattingly said one of the things he would have done differently would have been to burst into the apartment more quickly without giving her time to move toward the door.

Mattingly said the police knocked multiple times and repeatedly said, "Police, search warrant!"

"We expected that Breonna was going to be there by herself. That's why we gave her so much time. And in my opinion that was a mistake," Mattingly said.

"Number one, we would have either served the no-knock warrant or we would have done the normal thing we do, which is five to 10 seconds. To not give people time to formulate a plan, not give people time to get their senses so they have an idea of what they're doing. Because if that had happened ... Breonna Taylor would be alive, 100 percent," Mattingly said.

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)