Post Hill Press goes on with book by officer in Taylor raid

FILE – This undated photo provided by Taylor family attorney Sam Aguiar shows Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear has signed a partial ban on no-knock warrants, Friday, April 9, 2021, a year after the fatal shooting of Taylor. (Courtesy of Taylor Family attorney Sam Aguiar via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The publisher of memoir by a Louisville police officer who fired at Breonna Taylor after being shot during the deadly raid on Taylor’s apartment says it will release the book even though its distributor, Simon & Schuster, announced it would “not be involved.”

Post Hill Press, based outside of Nashville, Tennessee, has scheduled a fall release for Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly’s “The Fight For Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy.”

“Post Hill Press continues to move forward with plans to publish Sgt. Mattingly’s book,” according to a statement provided Friday to The Associated Press. “His story is important and it deserves to be heard by the public at large. We feel strongly that an open dialogue is essential to shining a light on the challenging issues our country is facing.”

A Post Hill Press spokesperson declined comment on whether the publisher would seek a new distributor or distribute the book itself, a far more challenging undertaking without the resources of Simon & Schuster, one of the world’s biggest book publishers.

Reports of the book deal Thursday were met with widespread anger on social media, with Simon & Schuster authors Jennifer Weiner and Saeed Jones among those condemning it. Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that “People love to profit off of Black pain and tragedy. It sells.”

Mattingly and another officer fired shots that hit Taylor during the March 13, 2020, narcotics raid. Mattingly was shot in the leg by Taylor’s boyfriend. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical worker, died at the scene, but no drugs were found in the apartment.

The 48-year-old Mattingly was shot in the leg by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who said he fired a single shot after fearing an intruder was breaking into the apartment. Mattingly was recently reprimanded by Louisville’s police chief for a September email critical of department leadership and protesters. He remains in the department. Two other officers who fired their guns during the raid have been dismissed.

The response to Mattingly’s book deal highlighted a little known part of the publishing industry — distribution deals. In a companywide memo shared by the publisher Friday with The Associated Press, Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp called them an “important part of our overall business portfolio” and cited “the unsustainable precedent of rendering our judgment on the thousands of titles from independent publishers whose books we distribute to our accounts, but whose acquisitions we do not control.”

“You have our commitment to always be open to the exchange of opinions and points of view with our employees and authors,” Karp wrote. “At times, that commitment will be in conflict with the editorial choices of our distribution partners, which we must also respect. As a publisher, we seek a broad range of views for our lists. As a distributor, we have a limited and more detached role.”

In recent years, Simon & Schuster has faced outrage over titles the company itself planned to publish. It dropped a memoir by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, a prominent supporter of the Jan. 6 march in Washington that led to the overrunning of the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters seeking to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential win.

Hawley’s “The Tyranny of Big Tech” was acquired by Regnery Publishing, a conservative publisher distributed by Simon & Schuster.

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