Breonna Taylor's Family, Louisville Settle Wrongful Death Suit for $12 Million, Policing Reforms

The City of Louisville, Kentucky will pay the family of Breonna Taylor $12 million and institute a new set of policing reforms to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.

The settlement was confirmed and detailed at a press conference Tuesday, September 15th, with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Taylor’s family and their attorneys, Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar, and Lonita Baker. Taylor, 26, was shot and killed by Louisville Metro police officers in her home in March, and her death fueled protests against police brutality and racial injustice over the summer.

“A financial settlement was non-negotiable without police reform,” Baker said during the press conference. “And that’s what we were able to do today.” She added, “We recognize that this reform is not all-encompassing, and there’s still work to be done. And we commit our time, our talent and our resources to continue to work with the community to fight the systemic racism plaguing our city. We will continue to work on behalf and with the protesters who have put their freedom on the line to bring awareness to not just Breonna Taylor, but to the systemic problems facing our city. For we know that without their voice, we would not be here today.”

The 12 policing reforms contained in the settlement cover a wide swath of issues, including the process by which search warrants are approved and executed, to improving transparency and accountability within the Louisville Metro Police Department. Mayor Fischer also stated that the city would create programs to bring social workers into the LMPD so they can provide support to officers on certain dispatches that involve people struggling with mental health issues or homelessness. To improve police-community relations, the city will also provide housing credits to police officers that live within the city, and officers will be encouraged to do two hours of paid community service each week.

The reforms follow the passage of “Breonna’s Law” back in June, which banned “no-knock” warrants that allow officers to enter a suspect’s apartment without warning. The three cops who killed Taylor entered her apartment using a “no-knock” warrant.

Meanwhile, criminal proceedings regarding the three LMPD officers who shot Taylor — Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — are still ongoing. A grand jury is expected to hear the case soon, possibly this week, and decide whether criminal charges should be filed. One officer, Hankison, has been fired from the force, while Mattingly and Cosgrove were placed on administrative reassignment.

At the press conference, Ben Crump stressed the importance of seeing criminal charges filed against the officers for there to actually be justice. “Regardless of this landmark on the journey to justice, we still are demanding that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron bring charges immediately against the police officers that murdered Breonna Taylor,” he said. “Immediately. This week. Justice delayed is justice denied… We want full justice for Breonna Taylor, not just partial justice.”

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, also spoke briefly, saying: “As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna. We must not lose focus on what the real drive is, and with that being said, it’s being 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.”

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