Louisville police have spent more than $90,000 on security for officers in Breonna Taylor shooting
(Yahoo News) - Homemade wanted posters picture their faces. Signs hoisted at rallies call them murderers. Petitions and checklists online demand their arrest, prosecution and imprisonment.
As Breonna Taylor has become a household name in recent months, so, too, have the names of the three Louisville Metro Police officers involved in the 26-year-old's death five months ago: Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, detective Myles Cosgrove and former detective Brett Hankison.
That attention has also brought a slew of threats, some of them credible, according to LMPD. In response, the department provided more than 2,500 hours of security outside the officers' homes in May and June, recently released records show.
The cost of the patrol officers' time was nearly $94,000 for the 26-day period.
"This has been an emotionally charged time, including hostility directed at Louisville Metro Police officers, including doxing and other threatening cyber-attacks," spokeswoman Jessie Halladay said in an email to The Courier Journal.
"While we don't share details about specific threats, in some cases security has been necessary."
In mid-June, The Courier Journal — a part of the USA TODAY Network — filed an Kentucky open-records request for all documents relating to security for Mattingly, Cosgrove and Hankison between March 13 and June 16 including correspondence authorizing the security and timecards for the assigned officers.
LMPD responded Aug. 7, providing an accounting of the hours worked and total cost for May 22 through June 13. But the department declined to release the names of who had requested security, saying it would "clearly be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, particularly as it relates to that person's safety."
The provided records indicate 2,512 hours of officer time, at a rate of $37.28 per hour. The figures, an estimate of the cost of staffing for the requested security details, didn't include any overtime payments.
Nationwide and local outrage has persisted in the case, with protesters saying the facts presented are sufficient to fire the officers and charge them criminally.
But seven area defense attorneys, including three who are Black, have disputed that assessment, telling The Courier Journal that officers had a legal right to defend themselves once her Taylor's boyfriend shot at them.
And as investigations into Taylor's case drag on, emotions will only continue to rise, said Robert LeVertis Bell, a former Metro Council candidate who's attended local protests.
Bell said he believes the officers "deserve their day in court," but he also understands why they're receiving security while everyone awaits announcements from the federal and state agencies responsible for reviewing the fatal shooting.
"The facts are in," he said. "If they're going to charge them, they need to announce it. If they're not going to charge them, they need to announce it … so we can at least move toward having some idea of what our future looks like as a city.
One of the officers who fired his weapon that night, Hankison, has been fired for his role in the shooting. Interim Chief Robert Schroeder wrote in the June 23 termination letter that Hankison showed "extreme indifference to the value of human life" when he "blindly" fired 10 rounds into Taylor's apartment and the one next door.