Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, speaking publicly for the first time since the fatal Louisville police shooting of Breonna Taylor, stressed Tuesday her death had “nothing to do with race.”

In an exclusive interview with ABC News/The Courier Journal, the sergeant at the center of the controversial March 13 shooting said the public anger, protests and vitriol surrounding the case could have been mitigated had Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s office and police officials more quickly corrected misinformation.

Michael Strahan talks with Louisville Metro Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and his wife Nicki, prior to an interview with the couple for ABC’s 20/20. Oct. 20, 2020. (Pat McDonogh / Courier Journal)

Instead, they were silent, Mattingly said.

“It’s been excruciating,” he said. “When you have the truth right there in your hands and everything else is getting crammed around you, it’s frustrating.”

And while Taylor’s death is a tragedy, he said it should not be lumped in other high-profile cases of slain Black Americans that have stirred public outrage and coast-to-coast protests.

“Because this is not relatable to George Floyd. This is nothing like that,” Mattingly said. “It’s not Ahmaud Arbery. It’s nothing like it. These are two totally different types of incidences.

“It’s not a race thing like people wanna try to make it to be. It’s not. This is a point where we were doing our job, we gave too much time when we go in, I get shot, we returned fire,” Mattingly said.

“It’s not a race thing like people wanna try to make it to be. It’s not,” Mattingly said.

“This is not us going, hunting somebody down. This is not kneeling on a neck. It’s nothing like that.”

Mattingly is one of three officers who fired their weapons during an attempted drug raid at Taylor’s apartment shortly before 1 a.m. March 13. He was the only member of the Louisville Metro Police officers who was wounded.

Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove and former Detective Brett Hankison were returning fire after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired what he later called a “warning” shot when police broke down her door to Taylor’s South Louisville apartment.

Walker told investigators in a recorded interview hours later he didn’t realize police were at the door.

Walker’s bullet struck Mattingly in the femoral artery, he said, requiring surgery.

Taylor was shot six times in the return fire and died in her hallway.

No officers have been charged in her death. Former Detective Brett Hankison, who was fired in June, faces criminal charges for shots he fired that went into a neighboring apartment with three people inside. He has pleaded not guilty.

After the shooting, Mattingly told police investigators none of the officers at Taylor’s home had done “any of the investigation” or “the background.”

“It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and the criminals are canonized,” Mattingly wrote to his colleagues.

But the detective who secured the search warrant, Joshua Jaynes, has told police that he asked Mattingly to check about packages Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover, the main suspect in a narcotics investigation, had been receiving at her home.

Mattingly also made headlines in September when he sent an email to more than 1,000 of his fellow LMPD officers. In it, he said he and the other officers at Taylor’s apartment did the “legal, moral and ethical thing that night.”

And he railed against Mayor Greg Fischer, Public Safety Chief Amy Hess and former Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad for failing “all of us in epic proportions for their own gain and to cover their asses.”

“It’s sad how the good guys are demonized, and the criminals are canonized,” Mattingly wrote to his colleagues.

-Courier Journal