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 his newly hired attorney.
Todd McMurtry posted video to Twitter on Thursday night that appeared to show Mattingly being put onto the back of a truck bed and driven away after he was shot March 13 at Taylor's apartment.
In the tweet, McMurtry says: "They called him a 'murderer,' when all he did was defend himself."
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," McMurtry told The Courier Journal on Friday.
He said that the intent was to file civil lawsuits related to those statements. He did not specify who they might sue.
This is the raw video of Louisville officer Sgt. John Mattingly shortly after Kenneth Walker shot him. They called him a "murderer," when all he did was defend himself. #BreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/oCaum8neaB
— Todd V. McMurtry (@ToddMcMurtry) September 24, 2020
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.
Earlier this week, Mattingly sent an email to more than 1,000 of his colleagues saying 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."
During a media briefing Friday, interim Chief Robert Schroeder said the department is aware of Mattingly's email and is reviewing it to determine "what course of action to take."
A spokesman for Mattingly's criminal defense attorney declined to comment on McMurtry's hiring or how he obtained the video.
McMurtry did not immediately respond to questions about how he obtained the video and whether he has more that have not been released publicly.
During the media briefing, Schroeder confirmed that the video shows Mattingly receiving medial attention after the shooting.
"We are not sure how that information was released," he said, "but due to the ongoing LMPD internal investigation, I will not be able to comment further."
The police department has consistently denied the release of videos of documents related to the Taylor case, but on Friday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the city is working to release some of the investigative file.
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.
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Cameron, whose office presented the case to the grand jury, said Wednesday that FBI ballistics analysis determined that 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 former officer Brett Hankison were trying to serve a no-knock search warrant at Taylor's South End apartment shortly before 1 a.m. March 13.
When they broke in the door, Walker fired one shot from his Glock handgun, saying later he thought an intruder was breaking in. 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 U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie in a primary challenge in April.
He is also 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.
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