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City of Louisville agrees to $12M settlement with family of Breonna Taylor

Settlement also includes police reform measures
Posted at 6:52 AM, Sep 15, 2020

Attorneys for the family of Breonna Taylor have agreed to a $12 million wrongful death settlement with the city of Louisville, Kentucky, officials said in a press conference Tuesday.

According to Ben Crump, an attorney for the family of Breonna Taylor, the settlement was the largest sum paid out to the family of a Black woman killed during an interaction with a police officer.

In the settlement, the Louisville Metro Police Department also agreed to make several policy changes. Those policy changes include:

  • Requiring a commanding officer to approve search warrants before a judge approves them.
  • Implementing an "early warning" system to detect unnecessary use of force among officers.
  • Operational changes regarding officers placed on leave.
  • Implementing a program that offers housing credits to police officers to encourage them to live in the city limits.
  • Offering officers an extra two hours of paid time for community engagement.
  • Expanded drug and alcohol testing within the department.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said later that the city did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

Attorneys for Palmer's family thanked Fischer for his administration's work in reaching a settlement. But they also called on state officials to press ahead with charges against the police officers involved in the March 13 shooting that left her dead.

"It's time to move forward with the criminal charges," said Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother.

Ben Crump, an attorney representing Taylor's family and the families of victims several other high-profile police shootings, also called on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to charge the officers involved, saying the officers should be charged "immediately, this week."

Thursday's presser closed with some in attendance shouting chants of "say her name" and "arrest the cops."

The settlement is the result of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Taylor's family. Breonna Taylor was shot and killed when plain-clothes narcotics detectives entered her apartment to serve a warrant.

Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, says he fired a "warning shot" at the officers, thinking they were intruders. Officers then responded by firing dozens of bullets, leaving Taylor dead.

Walker was later arrested and charged after an officer was injured in the shooting. Charges against Walker were eventually dropped.

Walker has maintained that while police did knock on the door prior to entering, officers did not identify themselves before attempting to enter Taylor's apartment. Some neighbors have also said that they did not hear police announce themselves before entering the residence.

Taylor's death has already prompted a ban on "no-knock warrants" in Louisville. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has also introduced a bill that would ban such warrants nationally.

Taylor's death has been a flashpoint for protesters calling for an end of police brutality and systemic racism. Athletes and entertainers have publicly called for the arrest of the officers who were involved in the raid on Taylor's apartment.

One officer involved in the shooting, Det. Brett Hankinson, has been fired from the department. None of the officers have been charged with a crime.