Myles Cosgrove, a Louisville Metro Police who investigators say fired the shot that killed Breonna Taylor, is fighting to get his job back. He and another officer were fired in connection with the incident.
Cosgrove and his attorney began to appeal his case before the Louisville Metro Police Merit Board on Tuesday, with at least one more session on Wednesday and more days in December if needed.
The merit board, a seven-member body of civilians and officers, will determine whether Cosgrove’s Jan. 5 termination by then-Chief Yvette Gentry was reasonable.
Following the hearings, the board could decide whether to uphold his termination or overturn it and issue a new punishment, according to member station WFPL.
Cosgrove and other officers were carrying out a search warrant on the night of March 13, 2020, waking Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Walker fired one bullet at the officers from a gun that he owned legally. Walker said later he thought the officers were intruders. The officers returned 32 shots, with Cosgrove firing half of those.
Two of Cosgrove’s rounds struck Taylor. An FBI ballistics report said Cosgrove’s bullets killed her, WFPL reports.
Cosgrove was fired in January for failing to properly identify a threat when he fired into the apartment.
In Tuesday’s hearing, attorneys for Louisville Metro and Cosgrove agreed beforehand that Cosgrove violated LMPD policy by not activating his body camera during the raid on Taylor’s apartment.
Jefferson County, Ky., assistant county attorney Brendan Daugherty, who is representing the police department, says that Cosgrove’s behavior on the night of Taylor’s death violated the department’s use-of-force policy.
According to WFPL, Daugherty described to the merit board the information police officers are supposed to know before using their firearm.
“The policy explicitly states that the officer must be able to justifiably articulate his or her actions,” Daugherty said. “The policy further requires that the person against whom the force is used pose an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or another person.”
Scott Miller, Cosgrove’s attorney, argued that Cosgrove believed he saw a “muzzle flash” along with a fellow officer who was down, saying that his response was reasonable, WFPL reports.
“Breonna Taylor’s death was tragic, we all know that,” Miller said, arguing that Cosgrove did not violate LMPD’s policy.
He says that Cosgrove acted in accordance with LMPD’s policy during a “high-stress, rapidly evolving situation in which he was shot at.”
Taylor was shot as officers executed a no-knock search warrant at her apartment as a part of a drug-trafficking investigation. Her death sparked weeks of protests and demonstrations in Louisville.