Breonna Taylor’s family has reached a settlement in the 26-year-old’s wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Louisville, Kentucky, after she was shot and killed in her own home in March when city police executed a late-night, “no-knock” warrant for a narcotics investigation.
“[The] family is pleased that the city was willing to collaborate on meaningful reform,” Sam Aguiar, attorney for the Taylor family, told HuffPost. “Now, we’re counting on the AG and DOJ to do the right thing and hold all responsible officers accountable.”
During a Tuesday press conference, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced that the city agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12 million, which will be the largest sum paid out by the city of Louisville in a police misconduct case. The settlement also includes key police reforms, such as establishing a housing credit program for officers to live in certain low-income areas. It also requires that the Louisville police department hire social workers to work with officers in handling social service issues like mental health, homelessness and addiction. Fischer added that multiple policies will be implemented to help create more transparency and accountability for police.
The wrongful death suit, which accuses the Louisville police of wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence, alleges that the cops fired more than 20 rounds of ammunition at Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was also in the apartment that night.
Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, spoke briefly at the conference, acknowledging that the day was significant but that she hopes for more.
“We must not lose focus on what the real drive is,” she said. “With that being said, it’s time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more.”
Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground. So please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor. Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor
“Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground,” Palmer added of her daughter. “So please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor.”
Lonita Baker, another attorney for the Taylor family, celebrated the historic settlement as well but urged Attorney General Daniel Cameron to bring criminal charges against the three officers involved in Taylor’s death.
“Justice for Breonna Taylor is multilayered,” Baker said. “We’re not gonna stop our cause to hold the officers responsible for Breonna’s death accountable. We’re gonna continue to put pressure on the attorney general’s office to present a fair case to the grand jury. We know that that indictment is coming from the grand jury.”
Taylor, a Black EMT, was shot eight times by police and died in a pool of blood on her apartment floor as Walker looked on. The “no-knock” warrant listed Taylor’s name and address, but the main narcotics investigation was centered around Taylor’s former boyfriend, who lived more than 10 miles away from Taylor’s apartment.
Cameron, who was named special prosecutor in the case earlier this year, opened an investigation into the handling of the “no-knock” warrant. A grand jury has been created to investigate the shooting, but there has been no announcement about when those proceedings will begin.
None of the three officers involved in the fatal shooting of Taylor have been charged with a crime. Two of the cops who entered her apartment that night, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and officer Myles Cosgrove, have been placed on administrative leave but are still employed by the police force. The third officer involved, Detective Brett Hankison, was fired from the force in June, three months after the shooting.
“Your actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life when you wantonly and blindly fired ten rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor,” assistant chief of the Louisville Metro police, Robert Schroeder, wrote in Hankison’s termination notice.
The Louisville police department is also investigating multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault involving Hankison. Multiple women have accused Hankison of preying on them at bars under the guise of “driving them home safely.”