Major publisher rejects distribution role in Louisville cop's book about Breonna Taylor raid

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

One of the Louisville police officers involved in the disastrous Breonna Taylor raid has written a book about that night. Post Hill Press announced it would be publishing Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly’s upcoming book, “The Fight For Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy.” This was a surprise to Simon & Schuster, the publishing giant that distributes books for Post Hill Press.

Simon and Schuster are making it perfectly clear that they want nothing to do with Mattingly’s book. Post Hill Press is a small independent publisher. According to its website, Post Hill Press was founded in 2013 and publishes a wide array of books, including Christian and conservative books. After learning of the publisher’s plan to release the book, Simon and Schuster released a statement that it would not distribute the book, as it normally would for Post Hill Press books.

It will be published by Tennessee-based Post Hill Press, The Courier Journal reported. The company website said it publishes ‘current events, Christian and conservative political books,’ among other topics. It has a deal to have its books distributed by Simon & Schuster, which earlier Thursday indicated it could not refuse Post Hill titles.

But late Thursday, Simon & Schuster released a statement saying it would not be involved in Mattingly’s book.

‘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 publishing house said in a statement. ‘We have subsequently decided not be involved in the distribution of this book.’

Earlier in the day, however, Simon and Schuster was onboard with distributing the book. Then the angry mob attacked so Simon and Schuster changed its mind. Funny how that happens, right? The company said, “that it had no editorial control over book releases by smaller publishing houses for which it provides third-party distribution, including Post Hill Press.” Then just hours later, Simon and Schuster caved. Also earlier, a spokeswoman for Post Hill Press acknowledged that the publisher supports freedom of speech for all its authors.

“In the case of Sergeant 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,” Ms. Merritt said. “Post Hill Press is standing behind our decision to publish his story.”

The Courier-Journal in Louisville first reported the news of the book Thursday morning.

Post Hill Press Senior Publicist Devon Brown confirmed Thursday morning that Mattingly’s book will be published by Post Hill this fall.

Mattingly will be available for interviews then, she said, declining further comment.

The Courier Journal learned of Mattingly’s book when he contacted a staff photographer Tuesday seeking permission to use a photo from May 2020 protests.

Mattingly confirmed to the Courier-Journal that he is “in the process of writing,” and provided the title. A Kentucky state representative from Louisville accused the officer of “profiting off black pain and tragedy”.

A progressive activist called out Simon and Schuster on social media and encouraged others to pressure the publishing company.

Shannon Coulter, co-founder of the progressive Grab Your Wallet boycott campaign with more than 90,000 followers, called out Simon & Schuster, and encouraged others to do the same.

“Will you be distributing this?” she asked.

That’s how we do things now. Social media blows up over various decisions and the outraged mobs take over. Companies don’t want the heat and cave to the demands of the opposition. In this case, it is the fascist leanings of progressives who want to silence any voice that is not one of their own.

Mattingly was injured in the raid at Breonna Taylor’s apartment. After he was shot, he returned fire. He shot Taylor but did not fire the shot that was determined to have killed her. The Jefferson County grand jury did not indict him. The Louisville Metro Police Department cleared him of any policy violations for the shooting. He is the only officer involved in the raid that has spoken publicly about that night.

Mattingly, who joined LMPD in 2000, sustained a gunshot wound that severed his femoral artery during the March 13, 2020 raid, requiring emergency surgery. He fired six rounds into the apartment after being shot, striking Taylor. The FBI concluded another officer, Myles Cosgrove, fired the fatal shot.

Kenneth Walker, who was initially charged for shooting Mattingly, said he didn’t know it was police at the door when he fired; Mattingly said he knocked and announced their presence. The charges against Walker have since been dismissed, though Mattingly and Walker have pending civil suits against each other.

It seems to me that Mattingly has an interesting story to tell. Why not read about his recounting of the events during that raid? Last October Mattingly said he wants to help people going through these types of situations.

Speaking to The Courier Journal and ABC News in October, Mattingly said he’d like to find a way to help people going through situations like his. The Mattingly family experienced numerous threats — including at least one that forced them to flee their home — as Taylor’s death drew widespread attention for much of 2020.

“There is no playbook for this,” he said then. “There’s no guidebook that says, when you’re in these types of incidents, here’s what you do, here’s what your family needs to do … There’s nothing.

“The country has now been through enough of these incidents, there should be some protocol, some type of guidance.”

There is plenty of criticism to go around from this raid – from the police department to the mayor’s office. Hearing from an officer with the first-hand experience might prove to be useful.