Simon & Schuster US says it will not distribute a book by one of the police officers involved in a raid where Breonna Taylor was shot dead.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, was shot and killed by plain clothes police officers during a chaotic drug raid on her flat in May 2020.
Louisville Sargeant Jonathan Mattingly, one of the officers who fired shots during the raid and was himself shot by Taylor's boyfriend, has now written a book about the incident. The Fight for Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy is being published by Post Hill Press, a Tennessee-based company. The press specialises in Christian and conservative political books, and the book deal was first reported in the Courier-Journal in Louisville.
Simon & Schuster had attracted criticism for its third-party distribution involvement, and previously released a statement saying it had no editorial control over releases organised by smaller presses.
However, S&S US then backtracked on Thursday night (15th April). It said: "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. We have subsequently decided not be involved in the distribution of this book.”
According to the New York Times, Kelsey Merritt, publisher at Post Hill, said the press endorsed the right to free speech.
“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,” she said. “Post Hill Press is standing behind our decision to publish his story.”
None of the officers involved in the raid, including Mattingly, were directly charged over Taylor's death, one of the catalysts for the Black Lives Matter protests. Three officers were fired but Mattingly is still employed by the Louisville Police Department.