Louisville settles with Breonna Taylor's family for $12M, promised police reform

Louisville settles with Breonna Taylor's family for $12M, promised police reform
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The city of Louisville has reached a $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman whom plainclothes Louisville police officers shot and killed in her own home in March.

Initial news of the deal came Tuesday morning, just over six months to the day that Taylor was killed. The deal is the largest settlement that the city has paid in a police misconduct case, shattering the previous top figure of $8.5 million, according to the Courier Journal. 

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) confirmed the record-setting amount of the settlement at a joint press conference with Taylor family attorneys, including prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

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“I’m here today, with the family of Breonna Taylor, to announce that Louisville Metro Government has settled a civil lawsuit with her estate,” Fischer said. "We must have transparency and accountability for the work that our officers do."

Members of Taylor's family were seated in the front row of the press conference.

Fischer went on, detailing the police reforms that are part of the agreement, notably, how no-knock warrants — the technique that led to Taylor’s death — are issued.

“We will now require a commanding officer to review and approve all search warrants … before an officer seeks judicial approval for the warrant,” Fischer said. “We’re creating a clear command structure when executing warrants in multiple locations.”

Lonita Baker, one of the attorneys representing the Taylor family, said that the reforms were a “non-negotiable” part of the settlement.

Crump called the settlement “historic,” saying that it was the largest settlement ever reached for a Black woman killed by a police officer in the country.

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However, Baker and Crump both stressed that justice for Taylor would not be complete until the officers involved in her killing were arrested and charged.

"We are still demanding Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron bring charges against the officers that killed Breonna Taylor. Justice delayed is justice denied,” Crump said.

The attorney, who has also served as counsel in the cases of George Floyd and Jacob Blake, said at the very least the officers should be charged with second-degree manslaughter, which in Kentucky is defined as an act that “wantonly causes the death of another person,” and can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

On March 13, Louisville Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove entered Taylor's apartment while executing a no-knock search warrant. Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were asleep at the time.

Walker, who has said he thought the officers were intruders, opened fire. The trio returned fire, hitting Taylor numerous times and killing her.

Police were granted the no-knock warrant under the belief that Taylor's ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, had been using her apartment as a place to keep drugs and money, but neither were found in Taylor's apartment. Glover is facing multiple drug charges.

Taylor’s death has become one of the focal points of nationwide protests this summer that have decried police brutality and systemic racism — the phrase “Say her name” has become commonplace, even being featured by professional sports leagues such as the NBA and WNBA.

Hankison was fired from the force in June after it was determined he "blindly" fired 10 rounds into Taylor's apartment. Mattingly and Cosgrove are still on the force, both currently on administrative reassignment.

Despite the sustained national call for charges to be brought upon the trio, none of the three have been arrested.

Cameron, the state’s first Black attorney general, said last week that a grand jury had been paneled to hear the case and a decision could be released this week, but offered little other detail.