State Watch

Simon & Schuster won't distribute book by officer involved in Breonna Taylor's death

Simon & Schuster announced late Thursday that it will not distribute the book being written by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, the Louisville, Ky., police officer who was shot when raiding Breonna Taylor's home. 

"Like much of the American public, earlier today Simon & Schuster learned of plans by distribution client Post Hill Press to publish a book by Jonathan Mattingly," Simon & Schuster wrote in a statement. "We have subsequently decided not to be involved in the distribution of this book."

News of the book deal received immense backlash after it was first reported by the Courier-Journal

The book, entitled "The Fight For Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy," is set to be released this fall by Post Hill Press.

Post Hill Press did not publicly announce Mattingly's upcoming release. The Courier-Journal learned about it when a staff photographer was asked for permission to use one of his photos from a May 2020 protest.

The publishing house said it is still moving forward with Mattingly's book despite the foiled announcement and subsequent backlash. 

"His story is important and it deserves to be heard by the public at large," Post Hill Press publicist Kelsey Merritt told The Washington Post in an email on Friday. "We feel strongly that an open dialogue is essential to shining a light on the challenging issues our country is facing."

The Tennessee-based publishing house has orchestrated the release of several books from conservatives, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Fox News contributor Dan Bongino and far-right activist Laura Loomer.

Prior to the announcement from Simon & Schuster, an online petition went viral demanding that the massive bookseller not distribute it. The initiative called the book a "brazen attempt to rehabilitate" Mattingly's image and has more than 38,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

Mattingly fired six shots into the apartment Taylor shared with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, on March 13, 2020. Walker has said that he believed their home was being broken into and fired back in defense. Mattingly, 48, suffered a gunshot injury to his femoral artery that required emergency surgery.

Kentucky Attorney General David Cameron claimed that Walker was the one who shot Mattingly, but a ballistics report from the Kentucky State Police did not support this statement, neither confirming nor refuting Cameron's statement.

A grand jury did not indict Mattingly for his involvement in the incident that led to Taylor's death. Three lesser counts of wanton endangerment were announced against only one out of the four officers involved, Brett Hankison. Hankison was later fired from the Louisville police department.

In October, Mattingly filed a countersuit against Walker alleging he had "inflicted battery, assault and emotional distress" by shooting him. Walker had earlier filed a lawsuit against the Louisville Police Department for allegedly violating his constitutional rights.

Mattingly, who is still on the Louisville police force, is the only officer involved in Taylor's death that has spoken publicly.

"I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night," Mattingly wrote in an email to other officers that went public. "It's sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized."

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