Republican Group: Kentucky Ag Commissioner To Appear Alongside LMPD Officer Involved In Breonna Taylor Raid

Jan 16, 2023 at 6:19 pm
Jonathan Mattingly.
Jonathan Mattingly.

Editor’s note: On Jan. 17, the day after this story published, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles released a statement to LEO saying he was no longer attending the event “due to the controversial nature of another speaker” at the event.

According to a now-deleted Facebook post by a local Republican organization, Ryan Quarles, Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner who is running for governor in a crowded Republican primary this year, is scheduled to headline a Republican event in Bowling Green alongside Jonathan Mattingly, a former Louisville police officer who fired his gun during the raid that killed Breonna Taylor.

The pair is scheduled to appear at an event at the Bowling Green Country Club hosted by the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky on Tuesday, Jan. 17, according to the aforementioned Facebook post by the organization.

“[Mattingly] will be joining us to share what really happened during the raid that killed Breonna Taylor, what he saw, and how the media’s narrative has been corrupted and twisted to fit into a false, woke storyline,” organizers wrote on Facebook for the $40 per person event. “That storyline resulted in months of 'Say Her Name' protests, social posts, and even policy changes that had severe and far-reaching consequences for American citizens.”

A now-deleted Facebook post by the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky.
A now-deleted Facebook post by the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky.

A Jan. 2 post announcing the event was on the group’s Facebook page on Monday morning. However, when LEO Weekly revisited the page around noon — shortly after reaching out to the Republican Women’s Club of Central Kentucky — it had disappeared.

At almost 5 p.m. the group emailed a statement to LEO defending their decision to host Mattingly.

“In order to protect our freedoms of speech and due process, we are committed to providing peaceful forums to present information and opinions by knowledgeable parties regarding issues and events of our day,” they said. “We have recently invited Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly to speak at our meeting to obtain a firsthand account of the drug raid where Breonna Taylor was killed in Louisville.”

Acknowledging that the subject matter could be “controversial,” the group added that “other individuals with firsthand experience relating to this case are welcome to request an opportunity to speak to our organization as well.”

A now-deleted Facebook post by the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky.
A now-deleted Facebook post by the Republican Women’s Club of South Central Kentucky.

Last year, two days after the second anniversary of Taylor’s killing, Mattingly published a book about the raid that promotional materials said would “debunk lie after lie.” His book conflicted with what his fellow officers said about the raid, was filled with conservative buzzwords and largely acted as an airing of grievances against local officials, celebrities and the media.

In the book, he likened the differing accounts about the raid to “the Gospels in the Bible — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They all tell the same story, but from different viewpoints, experiences and perspectives.”

Mattingly was shot in the leg by Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, as the door to Taylor’s South Louisville apartment was breached on March 13, 2020. He fired six shots in return, but did not fire the round that was determined to have killed Taylor.

Mattingly has said he believes Walker knew he was shooting at police when the door to the apartment was breached. He has also suggested that drugs were present in the apartment and were removed after the raid.

Out of the three officers who fired their weapons the night Taylor was killed, Mattingly is the only one who was not fired from the force. One of those fired was Brett Hankison, who is among four Louisville Metro Police Department officers federally charged in connection to the raid.

Quarles has served as the Commonwealth’s Agriculture Commissioner since 2016. In a crowded Republican field, he is challenging Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who already has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, as well as the deep-pocketed Kelly Craft, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations between 2019 and 2021.

LEO Weekly reached out to the Department of Agriculture as well as the Quarles campaign, but did not immediately receive a response (Monday, however, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday for state offices in Kentucky).

While some right-wingers have gravitated towards a defense of the raid that killed Taylor, it is not universal among Republicans in Kentucky.

In June of 2020, Sen. Rand Paul introduced the “Justice for Breonna Taylor Act” in an attempt to ban no-knock warrants nationwide. That same month, all of the Republican members of Louisville’s Metro Council were sponsors on “Breonna’s Law” which banned no-knock warrants in the city and was unanimously approved by Council members.

In response to Mattingly’s appearance in Bowling Green tomorrow, the Bowling Green Freedom Walkers, a local activist group, has called for a protest at a turn-off leading to the country club hosting the event.

“One of the police officers that murdered Breonna Taylor whose name is Jonathan Mattingly is circulating his version of the “truth” in order to sell copies of his book,” the group wrote on Facebook. “How disgusting, disrespectful and disturbing is Republican Ryan Quarles to use the death of a young African American as a fundraiser for his Kentucky Governor campaign.”

The event was not billed as a fundraiser for Quarles. The Commissioner’s campaign staff and office did not respond to inquiries as to whether it was a fundraiser.

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