LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After more than three hours of deliberation, the Louisville Police Merit Board unanimously voted to uphold the termination of former Det. Joshua Jaynes, who was fired for being untruthful in a search warrant used to raid Breonna Taylor's home.
Attorney Thomas Clay, who represents Jaynes, said he will take the case to Jefferson Circuit Court.
Jaynes showed little emotion and did not speak with the media after the 4-0 ruling.
Merit board members, who heard three days of testimony, did not discuss reasoning behind the decision but will issue an order with their findings.
In a statement after the ruling, Mayor Greg Fischer said that former Chief Yvette Gentry "stepped into service at a very difficult time for our city, and then undertook a thorough and thoughtful review of this case. I supported her decision then, and I support it now. And I appreciate the Merit Board upholding that decision."
Gentry fired Jaynes in January, telling him in a letter that his "actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the department."
Attorney Sam Aguiar, who represents Breonna Taylor's family, said "any accountability and any level of justice is a step in the right direction. This, along with so many other egregious actions by LMPD members, is why Breonna Taylor" was killed.
Tamika Palmer, the mother of Taylor, echoed support of the board's decision to uphold the firing of 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," she wrote. "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."
Jaynes wrote in the search warrant affidavit, under oath, that Taylor's ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was receiving packages at her apartment on Springfield Drive and said he confirmed the information through the U.S. postal inspector — one of the key justifications for the warrant.
In May 2020, a U.S. postal inspector in Louisville said Metro police did not use his office to verify that information.
Jaynes has admitted he never spoke to the postal inspector.
Instead, Jaynes and his attorney, Thomas Clay, argued he relied on information from another officer, Jonathan Mattingly, one of the officers who executed the search warrant at Taylor's South End home on March 13, 2020.
“I had no reason to lie in this case,” Jaynes said. “I’m here because I relied on information from another officer.”
Mattingly submitted the request through the Shively Police Department, which serves as a liaison between LMPD and the postal inspector because of "bad blood" between the two agencies.
Jaynes said he assumed Mattingly had checked directly with the postal inspector.
In an interview with Louisville police investigators, Shively police Sgt. Timothy Salyer said he and Shively Detective Michael Kuzma got a text from Mattingly on Jan. 17 asking they check with a postal inspector to see if packages were being sent to Taylor's home for Glover.
Both Shively officers say the postal inspector told them there were no packages being sent to Taylor's home and that information was promptly and accurately relayed to LMPD.
After Taylor's death, both Salyer and Kuzma became concerned when they read the warrant affidavit written by Jaynes. Salyer asked Mattingly about what Jaynes said in the affidavit.
"Sgt. Mattingly stated he told Detective Jaynes there was no package history at that address," Salyer told investigators.
On Tuesday, former Louisville police chief Yvette Gentry testified that Jaynes admitted to being untruthful in obtaining a search warrant for the fateful raid of Taylor’s apartment and was “completely comfortable” in firing him.
“Untruthfulness is a big deal,” Gentry said. “There are certain policy violations you don’t get a second chance to come back from.”
Gentry served as interim chief for several months until earlier this year, when Chief Erika Shields formally took over the police department's top job.
Mattingly has said he told Jaynes there were no suspicious packages going to Taylor's home.
At the end of his testimony Wednesday, Jaynes asked if he could stand up and address the merit board.
He got choked up while talking about the embarrassment this has caused him and his family and how he is now having trouble finding a job.
Jaynes said he believes “in his heart, in his soul, and in his mind” that he did his job.
Clay, Jaynes' attorney, said he will appeal the decision to uphold the termination at the circuit court level once the board's order is finalized.
"As a matter of law, I think Detective Jaynes told the truth in that search warrant affidavit. The board disagreed, but I think we're going to have a court review it and see if a court has a different interpretation of what the law says," Clay said.
Dave Mutchler, a spokesperson for River City FOP Lodge #614, agreed with Clay's assessment.
"We don't believe that there's evidence that Detective Jaynes violated the truthfulness policy or that he should have been terminated," he said, on behalf of the union. "There has to be an intentional attempt to deceive or an intentional omission or something like that."
Detective Brett Hankison, along with Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, with LMPD's Criminal Interdiction Division, burst into Taylor's Springfield Drive apartment around 1 a.m. March 13 to serve the search warrant. Taylor was inside the apartment with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker.
Taylor, 26, was shot six times and died at the scene.
Walker thought they were being robbed, according to his attorney, and fired at officers when they rushed in, hitting Mattingly in the leg.
Cosgrove and Hankison were fired.
A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Hankison on Sept. 23 on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into an apartment near Taylor's unit where a man, pregnant woman and child were at the time. His case is pending.
No one was charged in Taylor's death.
Earlier Wednesday, Fischer testified he never gave an opinion on whether the police officers involved in the raid at Breonna Taylor's apartment should be fired before the investigative process was completed.
During questioning from Clay, Fischer was accused of telling a crowd on June 3, 2020 that all of the officers should be terminated – which Clay said prejudiced the entire process.
Fischer told Louisville’s Police Merit Board there was tremendous pressure on him to fire officers after the fatal March 13 raid and he was explaining the process that must take place before any firings could take place.
The crowd “did not understand an investigation has to take place as part of the process,” Fischer testified during the third day of hearings where Jaynes is trying to get his job back. “I made a statement defending this process.”
“You predicted the officers would be fired,” Clay told Fischer.
“Absolutely not,” Fischer said. “The crowd wanted me to take unilateral action,” which he said he could not do.
Clay played video of Fischer speaking in front of a crowd of protesters.
Fischer told the gathering “here’s what’s going to happen if they get fired” and “let’s assume” they should be fired, saying that the officers could then appeal and get their jobs back if the investigations were not handled properly.
But former Lt. Col. LaVita Chavous testified she was at a meeting where Fischer said he wished he could fire all of the officers involved in the raid.
"In my mind, it was an inappropriate statement at that time," because investigations were still unfolding, she testified.
This story may be updated.
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