Former Interim Police Chief Defends Firing Of Officer Involved In Breonna Taylor Case
LMPD Police Merit Board hearings continued Tuesday for the former officer who got the search warrant for Breonna Taylor’s home, eventually leading to a fatal middle-of-the-night raid.
Joshua Jaynes is trying to get his job back after his January termination for violating the department’s policy against “untruthfulness.” Jaynes wrote in the search warrant application that he verified information through a U.S. Postal Inspector, when he was actually relying on the word of a fellow officer. The hearing began earlier this month.
The Merit Board called former Interim Police Chief Yvette Gentry, who stepped down from the position in January, to testify Tuesday. She said she understood the former officer’s desire to “get the drug dealers,” but called his methods “unacceptable.”
“We have a woman in her house that … certainly picked bad guys,” she said. “She’s not the first woman that did that. She was failed by those men, and she was also failed by Detective Jaynes cheating the system with a desire to get in there and he used false information to get in there.”
An internal investigation found Jaynes also failed to fill out the required internal forms for the search warrant, but Gentry said her decision centered on the untruthfulness. She said Jaynes did not provide her with any evidence to defend himself after he was served with pre-termination paperwork and she feels “completely comfortable” with her decision.
Gentry won’t be the only high-profile official called to testify at the hearings. The Police Merit Board approved a request from Jaynes’ lawyer, Thomas Clay, to have Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer take the stand.
Jean Porter, a spokesperson for Fischer, said he plans to make himself available on Wednesday.
“It is important to him that the merit board process plays out properly,” Porter said.
Clay questioned Gentry on whether Fischer or one of his representatives had pressured her to fire Jaynes and the other officers involved in the raid on Taylor’s apartment. Gentry denied the allegation.
Clay is also arguing that there is nothing wrong with what Jaynes put in his sworn warrant affidavit. In the first day of the hearing, Clay argued that his client did not intend to deceive the court and could have gotten the warrant without the false statement.
Jaynes wrote that he “verified through a U.S. Postal Inspector” that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, received packages at her apartment. It was later found that no packages for Glover had been sent to the home, and Jaynes was solely relying on the word of another officer, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly. Mattingly has since retired.
Clay said Tuesday that Jaynes’ statement was correct under a legal doctrine known as “collective knowledge,” which states that officers can act on the knowledge of another officer when making a stop or search.
Assistant County Attorney Brendan Daugherty, who is representing LMPD, is asking the board to uphold Jaynes’ firing and the finding that he was untruthful.
“Jaynes represented in his affidavit for the search warrant that he took a very specific action and had a very specific source of information,” Daugherty argued in a previous day of the hearing. “But he had never taken that specific action and he did not have that specific source of information. And he knew it.”
The Board could ultimately choose to sustain Jaynes’ firing, or reinstate him with an alternative punishment. The hearing continues Wednesday. All proceedings are being livestreamed on the Board’s Facebook page.
Only four members of the board will have a say on the final outcome, according to the Courier-Journal. Two civilian board members, Alexandra Glaser and Michael James, recently resigned. A third member selected by LMPD officers, Justin Witt, has recused himself from the case.