Investigations

Wednesday’s release of the internal investigation of the police killing of Breonna Taylor has resurfaced one of the key unsolved questions of the whole case: Why were the police at her apartment in the first place?

The officer who applied for the search warrant that led to Taylor’s death was Det. Joshua Jaynes, of the Louisville Metro Police Department. In an affidavit for that search warrant, Jaynes said he “verified through a US Postal Inspector that Jamarcus Glover has been receiving packages at 3003 Springfield Drive #4.”

But Jaynes later admitted to LMPD investigators that neither he nor another LMPD officer verified that directly with a postal inspector. Interviews released as part of the PIU file show confusion and concern from people directly involved with obtaining the warrant, who have cast doubt on the narrative offered by Jaynes himself. 

Because the FBI is investigating how and why Jaynes obtained the no-knock warrant, the circumstances surrounding the warrant were not a part of the Attorney General’s investigation or presentation to the grand jury. 

The investigation 

In late December 2019, Jaynes and others were investigating Jamarcus Glover, a suspected drug dealer and Breonna Taylor’s on-again, off-again boyfriend. Jaynes told LMPD’s PIU investigators the investigation focused mostly on the Russell neighborhood, including the 2400 block of Elliott Avenue where Glover lived, but also other properties where the police believed Glover and others to be connected.

Jaynes said police had a tracker on Glover’s vehicle, which led them to Taylor’s apartment. Jaynes and another officer began surveilling the property, and Jaynes said he took photos of Glover entering Taylor’s apartment empty-handed and exiting with what appeared to Jaynes to be a United States Postal Service package.

“And so at that point, I believe that now this guy was gonna be getting — I’m hoping at this point he’s getting dope delivered to him,” Jaynes recalled in the PIU interview.

Jaynes wanted to verify with the USPS that Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment, so he said he reached out to his colleague Sgt. Jon Mattingly, who had connections with the postal service.

In January, Mattingly texted Sgt. Tim Salyer and Det. Mike Kuzma of the Shively Police Department: 

“When either of you get a chance, could you reach out and find info on packages sent to the below address or name?” He then sent them Taylor’s address and Jamarcus Glover’s name, Sayler told an LMPD investigator.     

Kuzma called United States Postal Inspector Charlie Klein, who told him there were no packages sent to the Springfield Drive address, Salyer said. Kuzma told LMPD’s investigators that he relayed that information back to Mattingly. 

But Jaynes told LMPD investigators that Mattingly told him something different. According to Jaynes, Mattingly told him that Glover “just gets Amazon or mail packages” at Springfield Drive—not suspicious packages, but some mail.

LMPD investigators never asked Mattingly about the Shively Police Department or the postal inspector in his 40-minute interview on March 25. 

Two more detectives, Det. Mike Nobles and Det. Kelly Hanna, reached out to the Shively police officers about checking with the postal inspector about that address. Salyer said they told those officers the same thing they’d told Mattingly: there were no packages sent there. 

The investigative files illuminate why LMPD would have gone to officers at the small suburban police department in Shively to assist with their investigation. 

According to Salyer, it was because the U.S. Postal Inspection Service refuses to work with LMPD. It’s not clear from his testimony whether he’s referring to a specific office or the entire postal inspector system. 

“I do believe there’s bad blood,” Salyer said, “from the last postal stuff that went down with Kyle Willett and Thommy Barth. From what we determine is they don’t want any more dealings with Louisville Metro units.” 

Willett and Barth were part of a high-profile local, state and federal drug task force that LMPD had led for more than a decade, according to the Courier-Journal. In April 2017, Willett was convicted of stealing more than $75,000 from packages at the UPS Worldport while investigating drug trafficking. 

Barth was also investigated by the FBI but never indicted. 

Police obtained warrant 

Jaynes told LMPD investigators that, after he consulted with Mattingly, he didn’t believe Glover was getting “dope delivered there” to 3003 Springfield Drive. 

But he still believed Glover might be storing money at Taylor’s apartment. Jaynes speculated to investigators that, based on his experience, drug traffickers “get other people involved, and it’s usually females. It’s usually baby mamas or . . . it’s girlfriends that they can trust. They can trust them with their money and their stuff,” Jaynes said.

“I still felt in my investigation and in my heart that this guy [Glover] must still have ties” at Taylor’s apartment, he said.

Jaynes also said he learned that Glover had a Chase bank account that used Taylor’s apartment as an address on Feb. 24.

Eventually, Jaynes applied for a search warrant for Taylor’s apartment and other properties as part of a narcotics investigation. In an affidavit for that search warrant, Jaynes said he “verified through a US Postal Inspector that Jamarcus Glover has been receiving packages at 3003 Springfield Drive #4.”

A Louisville postal inspector told WDRB News in May the same thing the Shively officers told LMPD: No suspicious packages were being sent to Taylor’s apartment.

The search warrant was conducted in the early morning of March 13, leaving Mattingly injured and Taylor dead. LMPD found no drugs, money or paraphernalia in Taylor’s apartment.

Jaynes followed up after shooting 

On April 10, almost a month after the raid that left Taylor dead, Shively’s Salyer got a text from an unknown number. He told the PIU that the text read: “Hey brother, it’s Josh Jaynes, your neighbor at LMPD Narc. Seeing if you or Kuzma could look at an individual or address to see if a guy was getting mail.” 

The address he wanted to check? Taylor’s. The name? Jamarcus Glover. 

Salyer said he told him that they’d already checked that address and told the postal inspectors to flag them if any boxes were sent there. 

“Not one there in months,” Salyer texted Jaynes. 

Jaynes told investigators that he had asked Mattingly to check on the mail situation for documentation about the case he was preparing. Jaynes said Mattingly couldn’t remember specifics about his conversations with postal service sources, so Jaynes reached out to Shively Police directly. 

Jaynes told investigators in May he no longer had the text exchange because he recently got a new phone. 

LMPD placed Jaynes on administrative leave in June, and he’s under investigation by LMPD’s Public Standards Unit, which considers whether officers have violated agency policy. 

Shively Police left confused, concerned

Salyer didn’t think much more about the case until he saw the search warrant affidavit — and that Jaynes had verified with a postal inspector that Glover had been receiving packages at Taylor’s apartment.

He said he and Kuzma called Mattingly. 

They confirmed that they had said there were not packages sent to Taylor’s house under Glover’s name. 

“And [Kuzma] said, ‘Well, would there have been anything misconstrued between what I said, and what I told you, that would have led you to believe anything different? That I would have told you there was a box going there?’” Salyer recounted. 

“And [Mattingly] says, ‘No,’ he said, ‘I told him what you told us. There were no boxes coming to that apartment,’” Salyers said. 

They also called Nobles and confirmed the same thing: He had told Jaynes there were no boxes sent to that apartment. 

Neither gave them a clear answer, per the PIU testimony, about where they thought Jaynes got the idea that there had been packages. 

Kuzma did tell Nobles that “postal was pissed off at me, because … the information was out.”

“And supposedly we weren’t supposed to be giving it to them, which if that was the case, I didn’t know that,” Kuzma told the PIU. 

Jaynes later admitted to investigators that he never confirmed directly with a postal inspector, but suggested that he would have had enough information without including the postal information to “get into that apartment.”

“When I contacted [Mattingly],” Jaynes said, “it just reaffirmed what I saw, the things that I’ve had.” 

Jaynes said he could not remember the exact conversation he had with Mattingly in April, but he said, “I remember Amazon resonating in my head. I just remember the word ‘Amazon.’”

The judge who signed the search warrant told the Courier-Journal she is concerned Jaynes might have lied to obtain the warrant.

Correction: The division of the postal service involved with the Breonna Taylor case was the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The wrong agency was listed in a previous version of this article.

Eleanor Klibanoff is a reporter with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
Graham Ambrose is an investigative reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. He is a Report for America corps member.