Story at a glance
- Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by members of the Louisville Metro Police Department in March.
- Protests in Louisville and across the United States have called for justice for Taylor and her family.
- The city has announced a settlement with Taylor’s family along with several police reforms.
For six months, protesters in Louisville and across the United States have marched for justice for Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician killed by Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers on March 13.
Today, the city of Louisville offered a settlement in a civil lawsuit — and an apology.
“I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer’s pain,” Mayor Greg Fischer said during a press conference, addressing Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer. “And I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death.”
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In a statement, Palmer said “Justice for Breonna means that we will continue to save lives in her honor. No amount of money accomplishes that, but the police reform measures that we were able to get passed as a part of this settlement mean so much more to my family, our community, and to Breonna’s legacy. We know that there is much work still to be done and we look forward to continuing to work with community leaders, the Mayor’s Office, and other elected leaders to implement long-term sustainable change to fight systemic racism that is plaguing our communities.”
As part of the agreement, the LMPD is changing its procedure for search warrants and will require the presence of EMS units and/or paramedics for forced entry search warrants. Taylor was killed after officers entered her apartment with a no-knock search warrant, exchanging gunfire with her boyfriend, who said he thought the officers were intruders. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
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The $12 million dollar settlement is one of the highest settlement amounts ever paid for the wrongful death of a Black woman by police in the United States, according to Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Taylor family.
“Nothing will ever fill the bottomless void left by the death of Breonna Taylor. This settlement, with the significant reform, ensures that her death has meaning and long-term impact – hopefully preventing the deaths of other Black lives. In my representation of George Floyd, Jacob Blake, Jr., Pamela Turner, and other cases where I have represented individuals impacted by police brutality, there has not been the responsive systematic reform as what has occurred in Louisville, KY in the name of Breonna Taylor,” Crump said.
The LMPD is instituting additional protocols for money seized as evidence by police, random drug testing and an early warning system tracking use of force incidents, citizen complaints and investigations against officers. Additional reforms also include a housing credit program to incentivize officers to live within certain parts of the city, a commitment to retaining social workers and a community volunteering program.
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