Breonna Taylor And The Night That Changed My Life


The incident on March 13, 2020 — the night Breonna Taylor was shot — was tragic. It was one of many horrific incidents I’ve seen in my long police career. Breonna Taylor was caught up in the crosshairs of her ex-boyfriend’s drug dealing and criminal record, and she did not deserve to die. My heart, as I’ve said before, goes out to her family. 

But the lies, propaganda, and falsehoods that came in the months after the incident, targeting me, my family, and my fellow cops, were not justified.  

That’s why I’m telling my story. Lies affect people. They hurt communities. And they’ve hurt my family and everyone I love and hold dear. 

The Breonna Taylor incident became national news because the facts were intentionally skewed. Before the truth was out and before a proper investigation took place, politicians, media, and celebrities spread the story that cops, the three of us by name, had murdered Breonna Taylor in her sleep. And we did it because we were racists. 

Of course — these came with other lies about the case. That we didn’t have a search warrant for her apartment; that we didn’t identify ourselves before entering; and that we were in plainclothes and didn’t have police identification. 

These claims, among many others, were false. 

But when Alicia Keys releases a video naming each officer involved and repeats those lies, without proper examination of the truth, and it garners over 2.4 million views and subsequent shares, those lies become the facts of the story. 

When the media licks their chops at another potential racial altercation involving cops, and twist the story to fit their narrative, innocent men become murderers. 

When a list of celebrities, including LeBron James, Cardi B, George Clooney, Beyoncé, Common, Kim Kardashian, Demi Lovato, Ellen DeGeneres, Amy Schumer, Diddy, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and many more peddle falsehoods, communities are torn apart, like Louisville was, property is damaged, and more people needlessly die. 

When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, President and Vice President, demand we, the cops, be indicted—it’s no longer just a narrative, the truth itself has been set for the story.

Mark Twain is credited with the phrase, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Me, my family, and the officers involved discovered that first hand. 

Even when my fellow cops and I could speak publicly on the incident, months later, there was no fixing or altering the story that had been spun. Minds had already been made up. Michael Strahan interviewed me for three hours on ABC News. The result? A 10-minute edit of the interview, portraying me and my intentions in the worst possible light. 

In the public narrative, I was a murderer and white supremacist, who had gotten off scot-free. 

In the months following the incident, $50,000 bounties were placed on the heads of the cops involved and their family members. We had to flee the city of Louisville. Cops and their families were being hunted and doxed. 

My children, to protect them and their kids, needed 24-hour security for months afterwards, and weathered a constant storm of death threats, mysterious vehicle sightings, and a general concern for their safety. 

GoFundMe shut down my page to raise funds for the money we had lost throughout the whole incident, with no company policies to back up their decision.  

 And the ramifications went beyond the personal—the lies cemented devastating consequences for city of Louisville, for legislation, and for the communities where Breonna Taylor lived and others still live. A great deal of cops will no longer do their jobs, scared of the repercussions of any action or tragedy that happens in the line of duty. All because the media, along with celebrities, politicians, and corrupt prosecutors, were unwilling to seek the truth of the story and tell the facts. 

Many have said I simply need to “stop talking.” They’ve heard enough from me. But the truth matters. I’m not a murderer, as the media would like to tell you. I’m not a white supremacist as many have openly said. I’m a father, husband, and lover of Jesus Christ, and on the night of March 13th, 2020, I was simply doing my job. 

If we aren’t willing to hear each other out, if we resort to judging each other’s stories by labels, boxes, and lies propagated by the media, how will this country continue to make positive change? How will we, as Americans, look past those biased opinions, do our own research, and stand for truth? 

This Sunday marks two years from the night that took the life of Breonna Taylor and almost took mine. The media would have you only remember one side of the story. I ask you to put aside your bias and hear mine.

Sgt. John Mattingly, author of “12 Seconds in the Dark: A Police Officer’s Firsthand Account of the Breonna Taylor Raid“, served Louisville as a police officer, with 21 years of dedicated service to the community he grew up in and loves.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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