Louisville to pay family of police shooting victim Breonna Taylor $12M, bring in police reforms
Taylor, 26, was killed March 13 when police shot her after entering her apartment
The city of Louisville will pay $12 million US to the family of Breonna Taylor and reform police practices as part of a lawsuit settlement months after Taylor's slaying by police thrust the Black woman's name to the forefront of a national reckoning on race, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Tuesday.
Taylor's death sparked months of protests in Louisville and calls nationwide for the officers to be criminally charged. The state's attorney general, Daniel Cameron, is investigating police actions in the March 13 fatal shooting.
"I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer's pain, and I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna's death," Fischer said, referring to Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer.
At Tuesday's news conference Palmer said "we must not lose focus on what the real job is, and with that being said, it's time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more."
The lawsuit, filed in April, alleged the police used flawed information when they obtained a "no-knock" warrant to enter Taylor's apartment in March. Taylor, 26, was shot several times, and police found no drugs at her home.
"We won't let Breonna Taylor's life be swept under the rug," said Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor's family, on Tuesday.
WATCH | Louisville settles with Breonna Taylor's family for $12M
Crump said the $12 million settlement is the largest such settlement given out for a Black woman killed by police. He also called for charges against the officers and urged people to "say her name," a phrase that has become a refrain for those outraged by the shooting.
Fischer said the civil settlement has nothing do with the criminal investigation.
Settlement details broadcast over loudspeaker
The news conference was broadcast over a loudspeaker in downtown Louisville and protesters listened as they sat around a memorial to Taylor.
In the time since Taylor's shooting, her death — along with that of George Floyd and others — has become a rallying cry for protesters seeking a reckoning on racial justice and police reform. High-profile celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and LeBron James have called for the officers to be charged in Taylor's death.
Palmer's lawsuit accused three Louisville police officers of blindly firing into Taylor's apartment the night of the March raid, striking Taylor several times.
Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was in the apartment with her and fired a single shot that struck an officer in the leg. Walker said he didn't hear police announce themselves and said he thought he was guarding against an intruder.
The warrant was one of five issued in a wide-ranging investigation of a drug trafficking suspect who was a former boyfriend of Taylor's. That man, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested at a different location about 16 kilometres away from Taylor's apartment on the same evening.
Louisville has banned no-knock warrants
The city has already taken some reform measures, including passing a law named after Taylor that bans the use of the no-knock warrants.
No-knock search warrants allow police to enter without first announcing their presence. Police typically use them in drug cases over concern that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival.
Mayor Fischer fired former police chief Steve Conrad in June and last week named Yvette Gentry, a former deputy chief, as the new interim police chief.
Gentry would be the first Black woman to lead the force of about 1,200 sworn officers. The department has also fired Brett Hankison, one of the three officers who fired shots at Taylor's apartment that night. Hankison is appealing the dismissal.
The largest settlement previously paid in a misconduct case was $8.5 million in 2012, to a man who spent nine years in prison for a crime he did not commit, according to news reports.