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Kentucky event criticized for having officer involved in Breonna Taylor raid as guest speaker

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 11:35:09-05

UPDATE 1/17 at 11:30 a.m.: After our initial story aired Monday on LEX 18 News at 6, we received the following statement attributed to Ryan Quarles on Tuesday morning.

"I, like other candidates running for Governor, have been invited to introduce myself to this group. I was invited independently of other speakers and due to the controversial nature of another speaker at this event, we have decided to reschedule to a later date."

LEX 18 did reach out to Quarles' team for comment prior to our story airing on Monday.


Concerns have been raised over a Republican event that is set to take place at the Bowling Green Country Club on Tuesday.

A Kentucky gubernatorial candidate and one of the officers involved in the raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment are set to appear at the event, according to a Facebook post by the Republican Women's Club of South Central Kentucky.

The club is listed as the host of the event and the guests listed on the flier are Ryan Quarles and Jonathan Mattingly.

Event with Quarles and Mattingly Flier Only.jpg

Quarles is Kentucky's agriculture commissioner and is currently running for governor. Mattingly is one of the three officers involved in the raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment in March of 2020.

That raid led to Taylor being shot and killed. And the police actions that took place that night have led to massive Black Lives Matter protests across the country.

Mattingly was not disciplined nor charged for his role in the shooting. But he has faced public scrutiny over his actions. And people have posted their concerns on social media that profits are being made off of Taylor's death.

"From Till to Taylor, the extreme right has a legacy of traumatizing and ridiculing [people of color] when innocent Black folk are murdered, but this is abhorrent," tweeted Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Colmon Elridge. "Apparently the worth of a murdered innocent Black woman is a country club dinner at $40 per person, tax and tip included."

Elridge also voiced concern about a gubernatorial candidate being at the event.

"Any candidate who believes this is just politics or not a big deal is unworthy of serving and is clearly not interested in governing for all Kentuckians," he added.

Rep. Lamin Swann also criticized Quarles' scheduled appearance at the event.

"Sickening a Kentucky gubernatorial candidate wants to lift a name like this," Swann tweeted.

"That's something to keep your hands off. Find more appropriate ways to raise money during a campaign," Swann told LEX 18. "That's beyond party lines or affiliations. That's just not an appropriate way to raise money for a campaign."

Why is Mattingly a guest at the event?

According to the flier for the event, he is listed as an author. Since the shooting, he wrote a book, "12 Seconds In The Dark: A Police Officer’s Firsthand Account of the Breonna Taylor Raid," which goes over the night Taylor died and the fallout that came after. In the book, he lays out his grievances over the fallout.

In an overview published on booksellers' websites, the book is described as a "gritty and suspenseful true story" in which "Mattingly sets the record straight on this shocking story that gripped the nation."

According to a Facebook post that has been removed as 3 p.m. on Monday, the Republican Women's Club of South Central Kentucky said Mattingly will "share what really happened during the raid that killed Breonna Taylor, what he saw, and how the media's narrative has been corrupted and twisted to fit into a false, woke storyline."

Event with Quarles and Mattingly Text Only.jpg

Since both Quarles and Mattingly are guests at the event, LEX 18 does not know if Quarles knew about Mattingly's appearance before he committed to the event.

The Republican Women's Club of South Central Kentucky issued the following statement:

The Republican Women's Club of South Central KY is open to people of all races, religions and ages. One of the objectives of our organization is to educate members regarding community issues and topics of political, social and financial concern. Sometimes these issues can be controversial and complex. In order to protect our freedoms of speech and due process, we are committed to providing peaceful forums to present information and opinions by knowledgeable parties regarding issues and events of our day.

We have recently invited Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly to speak at our meeting to obtain a firsthand account of the drug raid where Breonna Taylor was killed in Louisville. Sgt. Mattingly was one of the officers involved and injured in the raid. Sgt. Mattingly will be sharing his firsthand accounts of the evening.

These events may be controversial however, we believe Sgt. Mattingly has the right to share his experience. Other individuals with firsthand experience relating to this case are welcome to request an opportunity to speak to our organization as well.