“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,” a Simon & Schuster representative said in an email. “We have subsequently decided not [to] be involved in the distribution of this book.”
The news was first reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Mattingly, 48, was one of four officers who arrived at Taylor’s apartment after midnight on March 13, 2020 to execute a no-knock warrant. Taylor was killed after her boyfriend opened fire on police, striking Mattingly in the leg, and the officers shot back. Mattingly fired six times, but did not fire the shot that killed Taylor, the FBI concluded. Mattingly needed emergency surgery to repair his femoral artery.
The officer is now writing a book titled “The Fight for Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy,” according to Post Hill Press, a Tennessee-based publishing house that produces books ranging from pop culture to current events to conservative politics.
A representative with Post Hill Press told The Washington Post the publishing house is still moving forward with Mattingly’s book.
“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.”
Kent J. Wicker, an attorney representing Mattingly, declined to comment.
Mattingly’s book announcement arrived days after Kim Potter, a White officer in suburban Minneapolis, fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, and as the nation awaits a verdict in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
After Taylor’s death, another officer on the raid, Brett Hankison, was fired and charged with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. He has pleaded not guilty and his trial is set to begin in late August.
Detectives Myles Cosgrove, who fired the fatal shot, and Joshua Jaynes, who sought the warrant for the drug raid, were later fired but a grand jury declined to indict them, finding that they had acted in self-defense. Mattingly was never charged in the case and remains on the Louisville police force.
Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, who has since filed a federal lawsuit against the Louisville Metro Police Department, has said he fired his gun because police did not identify themselves and he thought an intruder was breaking into the apartment, a version Mattingly has publicly disputed.
In September, Mattingly wrote a mass email to the police department arguing that he and the other officers “did the legal, moral and ethical thing” the night of the deadly raid. The chief of the department has since reprimanded Mattingly, the Courier-Journal reported.
In October, Mattingly argued in an interview with ABC News and the Courier-Journal that Taylor’s death was “not a race thing, like people want to try to make it to be.”
Post Hill Press, which has published books of right-wing figures including Dan Bongino, Laura Loomer and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), did not publicly announce Mattingly’s book plans. Instead, the Courier-Journal learned of the deal when the officer asked a staff photographer for permission to use a photo in his book.
Backlash to the news was swift, with an online petition demanding that Simon & Schuster not distribute the book drawing more than 28,000 signatures by early Friday.
“The book … is a brazen attempt to rehabilitate the image of Mattingly, who still has his job and has never served time,” the petition states. “Breonna has already lost her life due to the actions of this officer. She will never be able to tell her story. Mattingly shouldn’t either.”
Authors, literary agents and activists also took to Twitter on Thursday to blast the publishing house.
“This is absolutely disgusting, and @simonschuster (why is it ALWAYS S&S?) should be ashamed of itself,” tweeted Celeste Ng, a best-selling novelist.
“Simon & Schuster really embraces villainy,” tweeted Roxane Gay, a best-selling author and professor.
Some of the publishing house’s authors also lambasted the news.
On Thursday evening, the company said it would not distribute the book and claimed it did not know about the project in advance.
Mattingly’s book is expected to be released this fall, the Courier-Journal reported.