The city of Louisville has agreed to pay the family of Breonna Taylor $12 million to settle a lawsuit over her death by police in March.
As part of the settlement, the city has also pledged to institute several police reforms, such as requiring a supervisor to sign off on search warrants and pairing a social worker with a police officer on some calls. Louisville’s Democrat Mayor Greg Fischer announced the settlement Tuesday.
“In order for the community to heal and move forward, there needs to be legitimacy and trust between the community and the police force,” Fischer said, according to The Wall Street Journal. “We hope that these are steps that are going to begin that process.”
Some reacted in surprise to the settlement, given the early stage of the investigation into Taylor’s death.
“I’m a little shocked it’s so early in the process that the mayor’s office decided to settle it,” Louisville Metro Council President David James said. “There’s not even been any depositions given.”
The Louisville settlement is significantly larger than others paid out in recent years in cases such as the lawsuit over Walter Scott’s death in 2015 when North Charleston, South Carolina, paid his family $6.5 million. Baltimore paid the family of Freddie Gray $6.4 million that same year.
Taylor family attorney Ben Crump reacted to the news, saying in part, “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.”
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is leading an investigation into Taylor’s death. Charges have yet to be filed against any of the officers that raided Taylor’s apartment and shot her. One officer involved in the raid was fired for “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 shots apparently at random into Taylor’s apartment, according to Louisville Metro Police Chief Rob Schroeder.
Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, died on March 13 during a police raid on her apartment conducted as part of an investigation into an alleged drug dealer, Jamarcus Glover. Taylor was not a suspect in the investigation, though she had been in a previous relationship with Glover and police believed that he was using her apartment to send and receive packages.
Police obtained a no-knock warrant to raid Taylor’s apartment in search of evidence connected to their investigation into Glover. The officers arrived at Taylor’s apartment shortly after midnight on the morning of March 13. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep in Taylor’s bed after watching a movie.
The police say that, though they had a no-knock warrant, they announced their presence before busting down the door to Taylor’s apartment. Walker says he heard no such announcement, and that, after hearing sounds at the door, Walker assumed Glover was outside. After police broke down the door, Walker fired at the officers, hitting one. The officers fired at Walker and Taylor, striking Walker in the leg and hitting Taylor multiple times and killing her.
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