Kentucky

Republican Group: Kentucky Ag Commissioner To Appear Alongside LMPD Officer Involved In Breonna Taylor Raid

According to a now-deleted Facebook post from a local Republican organization, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles running for governor this year in a crowded Republican elementary school is scheduled to co-chair a Republican event in Bowling Green with Jonathan Mattingly, a former Louisville police officer who fired his gun during the raid that killed Breonna Taylor .

According to the organization’s Facebook post referenced above, the couple is scheduled to perform at an event at Bowling Green Country Club on Tuesday, Jan. 17, hosted by the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky.

“[Mattingly] will be joining us to share what really happened during the raid that killed Breonna Taylor, what he saw and how the media narrative was corrupted and twisted to fit a fake woke story.” organizers wrote on Facebook for the $40 per person event. “This act prompted months of ‘Say Her Name’ protests, social posts, and even policy changes that have had serious and far-reaching consequences for American citizens.”

A now-deleted Facebook post from the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky.

A Jan. 2 post announcing the event was posted on the group’s Facebook page Monday morning. However, when LEO Weekly revisited the site around noon – shortly after contacting the Republican Women’s Club of Central Kentucky – she was gone.

Around 5 p.m., the group emailed LEO defending their decision to host Mattingly.

“To protect our freedom of expression and our right to due process, we are committed to providing peaceful forums to present information and opinions from knowledgeable parties on issues and events of our time,” they said. “We recently had Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly speak at our meeting for a first-hand account of the drug bust that killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville.”

The group acknowledged that the topic could be “controversial,” adding that “other people with first-hand experience regarding this case are welcome to ask for an opportunity to speak to our organization as well.”

A now-deleted Facebook post from the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky.

Last year, two days after the second anniversary of Taylor’s assassination, Mattingly published a book about the raid that publicity materials said would “debunk lie after lie.” His book contradicted what his colleagues said about the raidwas filled with conservative slogans and functioned largely as a voicing of grievances against local officials, celebrities and the media.

In the book, he compared the differing accounts of the raid to “the gospels of the Bible—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They all tell the same story, but from different angles, experiences and perspectives.”

Mattingly was shot in the leg by Taylor’s friend Kenneth Walker when the door to Taylor’s South Louisville apartment was forced open on March 13, 2020. He fired six shots in return, but did not fire the round that was supposed to have killed Taylor.

Mattingly said he believes Walker knew he was shooting at police when the apartment door was forced open. He has also implied that drugs were present in the apartment and were removed after the raid.

Of the three officers who fired their guns the night Taylor was killed, Mattingly is the only one who was not discharged from the force. One of those fired was Brett Hankison, who is among four officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department charged in connection with the federal raid.

quarles has been Commissioner for Agriculture of the Commonwealth since 2016. In a crowded Republican field, he challenges Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who already has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, as well as the financially strong Kelly Craft, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the Commonwealth United Nations between 2019 and 2021.

LEO Weekly reached out to both the Department of Agriculture and the Quarles campaign, but didn’t get an immediate response (however, Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a public holiday in Kentucky).

While some right-wingers have wanted to defend the raid that killed Taylor, that’s not universally the case among Kentucky Republicans.

In June 2020, Sen. Rand Paul introduced the Justice for Breonna Taylor Act in a bid to ban warrants nationwide. That same month, all Republican members of Louisville’s Metro Council were supporters of Breonna’s Law, which outlawed warrants in the city and was unanimously approved by council members.

In response to Mattingly’s performance at Bowling Green tomorrow, the Bowling Green Freedom Walkers, a local activist group, have called a protest at an intersection leading to the country club hosting the event.

“One of the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor named Jonathan Mattingly is spreading his version of the ‘truth’ to sell copies of his book.” wrote the group on Facebook. “How disgusting, disrespectful and disturbing Republican Ryan Quarles is to use the death of a young African American man as a fundraiser for his campaign for Governor of Kentucky.”

The event was not billed as a fundraiser for Quarles. Campaign staff and the commissioner’s office did not respond to inquiries about whether it was a fundraiser.


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