Simon & Schuster no longer distributing book by officer who shot Breonna Taylor
Simon & Schuster announced Thursday night that it will no longer be involved in the distribution of a book written by one of the Louisville police officers who shot Breonna Taylor in a raid that ended in the 26-year-old Black woman's death last March.
The book by Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who was wounded in the raid on March 13, 2020, is being published by Post Hill Press, a Tennessee-based publisher that focuses on "current events, Christian, and conservative political" books, among other subjects.
"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 to be involved in the distribution of this book," the company said in a statement shared on Twitter.
The decision comes after the company's earlier statement on Thursday, saying that "per our agreements with [distribution clients] we are unable to pick and choose which titles on their list to distribute," the Associated Press reported.
Whether Simon & Schuster's decision will impact the book's publication is unclear at this time.
Post Hill Press did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment. In a statement to The New York Times, a spokeswoman for the publishing house defended the right to freedom of speech for 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," spokeswoman Kelsey Merritt told the outlet. "Post Hill Press is standing behind our decision to publish his story."
The Courier-Journal of Louisville first reported that Mattingly is writing a book, titled The Fight for Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy, earlier on Thursday. The project was immediately met with heavy criticism, with many arguing against giving a platform to an officer involved in the deadly raid, which was carried out via a now partially-banned no-knock warrant and sparked outrage and protest across the country.
On the night of the raid, Taylor, an aspiring nurse who had been working as an EMT, was at home with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, when Louisville Metro Police officers including Mattingly performed a no-knock warrant and charged through the door. They were executing a search warrant for an investigation into a suspected drug dealer, who police alleged had once retrieved a package at Taylor's home. But the suspected drug dealer didn't live at Taylor's building and had been arrested at a different location. No drugs were found in Taylor's apartment.
According to a wrongful death lawsuit obtained by People and filed against LMPD officers by Taylor's mother, Walker fired a warning shot as persons unknown to him breached the front door with a battering ram, and officers responded by firing more than 20 bullets into the apartment, killing Taylor.
None of the officers who participated in the raid were directly charged in connection with Taylor's death. Two officers who fired their guns during the raid have been dismissed. Mattingly remains employed by the Louisville Police Department.
Simon & Schuster also recently canceled plans to publish a book by Sen. Josh Hawley. He was among Republican members of Congress who challenged the election results — both before and after the violence at the U.S. Capitol — and was accused of encouraging the mob of Trump supporters that stormed the Congressional chambers. Hawley called the decision not to publish his book "Orwellian."
An imprint of Post Hill Press worked on a book last year with Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who is currently under investigation by the Justice Department over sex trafficking allegations, which he denies. His book, Firebrand, was also distributed by Simon & Schuster.