Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, one of the officers who shot Breonna Taylor in her Louisville apartment last year, is now writing a book to tell his account of the fatal incident. The book, unofficially titled The Fight For Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy, is being published by Post Hill Press, a company which specializes in “conservative politics” and Christian titles, The Guardian reported.
Simon & Schuster, one of the largest publishing companies in the country, initially appeared to be willing to be the book’s distributor. The company said in a statement on Thursday that it doesn’t have editorial control over titles released by the smaller publishers for which it provides distribution. However, Simon & Schuster backtracked after it was slammed with public outcry.
“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,” the publisher said. “We have subsequently decided not be involved in the distribution of this book.”
Still, Post Hill said the plans is to move forward with the book.
“His story is important and it deserves to be heard by the public at large,” a spokesperson said, according to the courier journal. “We feel strongly that an open dialogue is essential to shining a light on the challenging issues our country is facing.”
Kelsey Merritt, a spokeswoman for Post Hill Press, said the publisher supports freedom of speech for all of its authors.
“In the case of Sgt Mattingly, the mainstream media narrative has been entirely one-sided related to this story and we feel that he deserves to have his account of the tragic events heard publicly, as well,” the spokeswoman told the New York Times. “Post Hill Press is standing behind our decision to publish his story.”
Mattingly contacted a staff photographer from the courier journal on Tuesday, asking for permission to use a photo from last year’s protests. News of the book then spread to the public and sparked backlash against the publishing agencies.
“This is absolutely disgusting, and @simonschuster (why is it ALWAYS S&S?) should be ashamed of itself,” Celeste Ng, a best-selling novelist, wrote on Twitter.
Mattingly, who is still employed by the Louisville Police Department, fired at least one of the six shots that hit Taylor. He was the first officer to enter Taylor’s apartment after midnight on March 13, 2020, according to an FBI report. The disgraced policeman was cleared by a grand jury in September, as Blavity previously reported.
His colleague Detective Myles Cosgrove, who fired the lethal shot, was also cleared. The third officer, Detective Brett Hankison, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots which struck the neighbor’s apartment.
Mattingly has described Taylor’s killing as “legal, moral and ethical”, writing his message in a letter to Louisville Metro Police Department officers in September, as Blavity previously reported.
“I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night. It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and criminals are canonized,” he wrote.
In an interview with Good Morning America last year, Mattingly said he felt “mostly frustration” while watching months of protests across the country after Taylor’s death.
“There was so much misinformation out, all these false narratives,” he said. “This is not relatable to George Floyd. It’s nothing like it. This is not Ahmaud Arbery, it’s nothing like it. It’s not a race thing, like people wanna try to make it to be. This is the point where we’re doing our job, we return fire. This is not us hunting somebody down, not kneeling on a neck. This is nothing like that.”