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Court upholds firing of Louisville police officer who fatally shot Breonna Taylor

Myles Cosgrove (center) sits between his lawyers while LMPD Sgt. Andrew Meyer testifies during the first day of his Police Merit Board appeal.
Roberto Roldan
/
LPM
Myles Cosgrove (center) sits between his lawyers while LMPD Sgt. Andrew Meyer testifies during the first day of his Police Merit Board appeal in 2021.

A Jefferson County judge upheld the firing of a former Louisville police officer who investigators determined fired the bullets that killed Breonna Taylor in 2020.

A Jefferson County Circuit Court judge on Monday upheld the firing of Louisville Metro Police Officer Myles Cosgrove, who federal investigators determined fired the bullets that killed Breonna Taylor in March of 2020.

Cosgrove was fired from the department in January 2021 for failing to properly identify a threat before firing 16 rounds into Taylor’s apartment. He unsuccessfully appealed his termination to the Police Merit Board later that year, arguing that the “shadowy figure” and “flashes of light” Cosgrove said he was firing at were enough to justify the use of deadly force. After a four-day hearing, the board voted 5-2 to keep Cosgrove from returning to LMPD. Attorneys representing Cosgrove then appealed that decision last April.

On Monday, Circuit Court Judge Melissa Logan Bellows ruled against Cosgrove, upholding the Merit Board’s decision.

“The principles of target identification and isolation are not simply part of police training, but part of the law of self-defense itself,” Bellows wrote. “Even normal citizens must exercise the ‘highest degree of care’ in ascertaining whether they are shooting at a legitimate target.”

Bellows wrote that Cosgrove’s attorneys appeared to be arguing that he should be "held to a less stringent standard than an ordinary Kentucky resident, despite having considerably more legal privileges."

During his appeal to the Merit Board, Cosgrove also argued that his firing was politically motivated. Former Deputy Police Chief LaVita Chavous testified that she overheard Mayor Greg Fischer say he wished he could fire the officers involved in Taylor’s killing during a meeting in 2020.

But Bellows said Monday that there was no evidence suggesting Fischer unduly pressured LMPD leaders or the Merit Board to fire Cosgrove.

“Put simply, while Cosgrove has provided certain evidence that his firing could have been politically motivated, he has not provided sufficient evidence to prove that it was, especially in an appellate setting,” she said.

Cosgrove is one of the only officers involved in the 2020 raid on Taylor’s apartment not to face additional criminal charges for his actions, despite an FBI ballistics report claiming he fired the fatal shots.

Former officers Joshua Jaynes and Kyle Meany are currently facing four federal charges, including obstruction and civil rights violations. Both were involved in securing the search warrant for Taylor’s apartment, which federal prosecutors say included statements the officers knew were false.

Former Detective Brett Hankison, who was present at the raid, has also been charged with civil rights violations for firing through a covered window as police attempted to enter Taylor’s apartment in the middle of the night. All three officers have pleaded not guilty and their trials are expected to take place later this year.

Last November, the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council voted not to revoke Cosgrove’s police officer certification, meaning he could get a job elsewhere in the state.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.