The LMPD detective who applied for the search warrant for Breonna Taylor’s apartment will not be allowed back on the force, following a ruling by the Police Merit Board Wednesday afternoon.
The board voted unanimously in favor of upholding Joshua Jaynes’ firing. Only a select few board members voted, because three appointees either recused themselves or resigned. The department fired Jaynes in January after officials discovered he lied in the warrant application for Taylor’s apartment. Jaynes wrote he “verified with a U.S. Postal Inspector” that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, a man police suspected of dealing drugs, received packages at her address. An internal investigation later found that Jaynes did not personally verify the information, instead he relied on someone else’s word that proved to be false.
Jaynes made an emotional plea to the board on Wednesday, the final day of the hearings. He said he felt he was being unjustly persecuted simply for trusting a fellow officer.
“I had no reason to lie in this case,” he said. “I’m here because I relied on information from another officer.”
On the verge of tears, Jaynes also told the board that he’s had a difficult time finding work to support his family after his firing and the media coverage surrounding it.
Thomas Clay, who is representing Jaynes, argued throughout the three-day hearing that what the former detective put in the warrant application was proper under the law. Clay repeatedly pointed to a legal principle known as the ‘collective knowledge doctrine,’ which allows officers to act on the knowledge of another officer when making a stop or search.
Lawyers representing the Louisville Metro Police Department, however, argued Jaynes made false representations to Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mary Shaw when he wrote that he verified information with the U.S. Postal Inspector. Jaynes admitted in testimony that the information was second-hand, coming from Det. Jonathan Mattingly.
Investigative files obtained by WFPL show no one from LMPD ever spoke to a U.S. Postal Inspector. Instead Mattingly asked Shively Police Department detectives to use their sources within USPS to verify whether Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, had received packages at her apartment on Springfield Drive. Sgt. Tim Salyer and Det. Mike Kuzma of Shively PD told investigators that their source told them Glover was not sending packages there and they relayed that information to Mattingly.
In her testimony Wednesday, former Interim Police Chief Yvette Gentry, who fired Jaynes, described his actions as “turning a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’.”
Brendan Daugherty, an assistant county attorney representing LMPD, said in his closing argument that Gentry was right to fire Jaynes for a major policy violation like untruthfulness. Daugherty said “sustained untruthfulness” can jeopardize every case that an officer touches, because their testimony is no longer considered reliable.
“When an officer is untruthful that officer can no longer serve the community,” he said.
Decisions by the Metro Police Merit Board can be appealed to the Jefferson County Circuit Court, according to the board’s hearing procedures.
Fischer Denies Involvement In Jaynes’ Firing
Wednesday’s hearing began with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer taking the stand to defend his comments at a 2020 protest against police brutality and over policing.
Fischer was called to the stand by Clay, who played a clip of Fischer’s address to a crowd of protesters on June 2, 2020. The clip began with Fischer saying: “Here’s what’s going to happen if they get fired. Let’s assume they should be fired.” He continued:
“Let me tell you what will happen. They will not go to jail. They will be fired. They will appeal that [and] they will be back on their job in one week, with back pay, with damages from the city because that’s how the law works.”
Clay accused Fischer of “prejudging” the outcome of punishments for officers involved in the raid. He also argued that, because Fischer appoints members of the Metro Police Merit Board, that he was placing pressure on the board to uphold Jaynes’ firing.
Fischer testified that he was “defending” the board and the process and was referring to what would have happened if he had taken unilateral action without an investigation. Lawyers for LMPD and the city also noted that his comments weren’t about any specific officers and the investigation into Jaynes’ conduct had not even begun.
Asked by Clay if he had already drawn conclusions about the guilt of any officers involved in the case, Fischer responded: “Absolutely not.”
Clay also asked former Interim Police Chief Yvette Gentry during the second day of hearings on Tuesday whether Fischer had pressured her to fire Jaynes. Gentry denied there was any outside influence on her decision.