The trial of a former Louisville police officer charged in connection with Breonna Taylor's shoooting has been pushed back to Feb. 1 2022. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Ann Bailey Smith postponed the trial of Brett Hankison on Friday from it's original date of August 31, 2021. The delay is being blamed on a backlog of of trials due to the pandemic.
Citing too much publicity around the case, Hankison's attorney asked that the trial be moved to a different location, but the judge denied his request.
Hankison facess three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for allegedly firing blindly through a door and window, with bullets entering an adjacent apartment where a pregnant woman, a man and a child were home, according to the state attorney general. The three felony counts are for endangering the people in that neighboring apartment, meaning no officer has been charged with killing Taylor. Two other officers, who also fired shots during the botched raid, were dismissed but not indicted.
A total of five officers participated in the raid. One of them was Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who remains in the department and has written a memoir. The publisher of that book recently announced that it will continue with plans to release the book even though its distributor, Simon & Schuster, announced it would “not be involved.”
Post Hill Press, based outside of Nashville, Tennessee, has scheduled a fall release for Mattingly’s “The Fight For Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy.”
“His story is important and it deserves to be heard by the public at large. We feel strongly that an open dialogue is essential to shining a light on the challenging issues our country is facing,” said a statement released by Post Hill.
A Post Hill Press spokesperson declined comment on whether the publisher would seek a new distributor or distribute the book itself, a far more challenging undertaking without the resources of Simon & Schuster, one of the world’s biggest book publishers.
Reports of the book deal were met with widespread anger on social media, with Simon & Schuster authors Jennifer Weiner and Saeed Jones among those condemning it. Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that “People love to profit off of Black pain and tragedy. It sells.”
The 48-year-old Mattingly and another officer fired shots that hit Taylor during the March 13, 2020, narcotics raid. Mattingly was shot in the leg by Taylor’s boyfriend. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical worker, died at the scene, but no drugs were found in the apartment.
Kenneth Walker, who said he fired a single shot after fearing an intruder was breaking into the apartment. Mattingly was recently reprimanded by Louisville’s police chief for a September email critical of department leadership and protesters.
The response to Mattingly’s book deal highlighted a little known part of the publishing industry – distribution deals. In a companywide memo shared by the publisher Friday with The Associated Press, Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp called them an “important part of our overall business portfolio” and cited “the unsustainable precedent of rendering our judgment on the thousands of titles from independent publishers whose books we distribute to our accounts, but whose acquisitions we do not control.”
“You have our commitment to always be open to the exchange of opinions and points of view with our employees and authors,” Karp wrote. “At times, that commitment will be in conflict with the editorial choices of our distribution partners, which we must also respect. As a publisher, we seek a broad range of views for our lists. As a distributor, we have a limited and more detached role.”
In recent years, Simon & Schuster has faced outrage over titles the company itself planned to publish. It dropped a memoir by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, a prominent supporter of the Jan. 6 march in Washington, D.C., that led to the overrunning of the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters seeking to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential win.