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‘Profit Off Black Pain’: Simon & Schuster Scraps Plans to Distribute Book Written By Officer Involved In Breonna Taylor’s Death After Backlash

Simon & Schuster has said it will not distribute a book written by the Louisville police officer who was shot while executing the no-knock warrant that resulted in the death of Breonna Taylor in March 2020.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who fired shots during the botched raid but was not charged over his involvement in the execution of the warrant that left the 26-year-old EMT dead, contacted a Louisville Courier Journal photographer last week for permission to use a May 2020 protest photo in the book, which led to the newspaper being first to report on the existence of Mattingly’s project.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, (left), fired shots during the botched raid that left 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, (right), dead. Photo: Today/ YouTube screenshot.

The book, “The Fight for Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy,” is slated to be published this fall by Post Hill Press, a Tennessee-based company that focuses on “pop culture, business, self-help, health, current events, Christian, and conservative political books,” The Louisville Courier Journal reported on Thursday.

However, after widespread criticism, Simon & Schuster, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS and one of the largest publishing companies in the United States, has scrapped plans to distribute the book.

Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott called the the book’s impending release “an attempt to profit off of Black pain and tragedy.”

Mike Brown, an artist from New York, called the company out for the apparent contradiction between its association with Mattingly’s book and its message of solidarity with the Black community following the death of George Floyd.

The company made the announcement that it would not be a part of distributing the book on April 15 from an official Twitter account.

“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 statement said.

Bestselling author and journalist R. Eric Thomas criticized the publishing company for waiting to ditch plans to distribute the book until after the backlash.

Earlier on Thursday, Simon & Schuster seemed to suggest it could not reject Post Hill titles, but later reversed course.

A publicist confirmed to NPR on Friday that Post Hill will move ahead with publishing Mattingly’s book.

“His story is important and it deserves to be heard by the public at large,” the publicist wrote. “We feel strongly that an open dialogue is essential to shining a light on the challenging issues our country is facing.”

Post Hill Press’ other authors include prominent right-wingers like Dan Bongino, Laura Loomer, and Matt Gaetz. Gaetz, a Republican Florida congressman, currently under investigation by the Justice Department as a part of a federal sex trafficking probe.

Mattingly joined the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department in 2000. During the March 13 raid, he fired six rounds into Taylor’s apartment after being shot in the leg by Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who said he believed the officers to be criminal intruders when they burst through the front door.

Myles Cosgrove, a detective sat the time, fired the fatal shot at Taylor, according to the FBI. A third officer, Brett Hankison, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing blindly into neighboring apartments. No officers have been charged directly in Taylor’s death.

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