Breonna Taylor’s Family Reaches $12 Million Settlement With City of Louisville [Updated]

Breonna Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer (C) addresses the media over the speed of the investigation of her daughter’s death as attorney Benjamin Crump (L) and co-counsel Lonita Baker (R) looks on outside Louisville City Hall on August 13, 2020, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Breonna Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer (C) addresses the media over the speed of the investigation of her daughter’s death as attorney Benjamin Crump (L) and co-counsel Lonita Baker (R) looks on outside Louisville City Hall on August 13, 2020, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Photo: John Sommers II (Getty Images)

Attorneys for the family of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency medical technician shot and killed by Louisville police in March, confirmed that they had reached a settlement with the city Tuesday.

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As CNN reports, Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, filed a wrongful death suit against the city earlier this year. The city of Louisville and Taylor’s family have agreed to a multimillion settlement that includes a reform component, say family attorneys.

“The city’s response in this case has been delayed and it’s been frustrating, but the fact that they’ve been willing to sit down and talk significant reform was a step in the right direction and hopefully a turning point,” Sam Aguilar, an attorney for the Taylor family, told CNN.

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Taylor family attorneys and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will discuss the details of the settlement, as well as the agreed-upon reforms, at a press conference later today.

The news of the settlement comes days after Taylor’s family and supporters observed the six month anniversary of her death.

As the Root has previously reported, since police killed Taylor on March 13, two of the three officers who raided her apartment still remain with the Louisville Metro Police Department. The lone officer fired was Brett Hankison, who was already under investigation for two separate incidents, including allegations of sexual assault. He is currently appealing to get his job back.

None of the cops have had charges brought against them, and the LMPD remains fully funded.

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But Louisville has banned the use of “no-knock” warrants, which allow law enforcement to forcibly enter homes without announcing their presence, and all officers now must wear body cameras. Taylor’s death also contributed to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, with activists, celebrities, publications, and politicians across the nation invoking her name to call for criminal justice reforms and increased attention to the specific dangers Black women face.

A grand jury was empaneled to evaluate the case last week. According to CNN, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the special prosecutor overseeing the investigation into Taylor’s killing, is expected to announce a charging decision soon but has refused to give a timeline.

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“An investigation, if done properly, cannot follow a specific timeline,” Cameron tweeted last week.

Updated Tuesday, September 15 at 1:10 pm ET: The New York Times reports that city officials have agreed to pay $12 million to the Taylor family. While details on criminal justice reforms have yet to be discussed by family attorneys and Mayor Fischer (a press conference was still forthcoming at the time of publication), according to the Times, the reforms will “impose more scrutiny on officers during the execution of search warrants,” as well as make common safeguarding practices within the LMPD mandatory.

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Updated Tuesday, September 15 at 4:30 pm ET:  During a 2 p.m. press conference on Tuesday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer detailed a number of reforms that city officials will put in place as a result of the wrongful death lawsuit.

“I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death,” Fischer said, according to WDRB. Fischer vowed “significant” reforms to ensure “a tragedy like this never happens again.”

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The reforms include implementing an early action warning system to identify officers with “red flags,” a policy that appears designed to prevent officers like Brett Hankison, who had a troubling history of complaints, from remaining on the force.

There are also several additional reforms around search warrants, including a requirement that a commanding officer review all search warrants. An earlier report from the New York Times noted that some of these practices included in the list of reforms were commonplace at the department, but may not have occurred in the raid that preceded Taylor’s killing.

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A couple of the new policies will undoubtedly be controversial, including housing credits for officers to live in certain low-income areas of Louisville—a policy informed by the assumption that police are less likely to abuse communities they themselves live in.

There will also be a commitment to bargain for increased drug and alcohol testing for officers in their next union contract, though it’s unclear whether this would have had any bearing on Taylor’s killing. There have been no reports that the officers who shot and killed her were under the influence.

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Until Freedom, a New York-based group that has been organizing on Taylor’s behalf for months, released a statement declaring the settlement the “bare minimum,” reports WDRB.

“No amount of money will bring back Breonna Taylor,” said the organization. “We see this settlement as the bare minimum one can give a grieving mother. Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mom, is a warrior. She is still fighting, as are we. The city isn’t doing Ms. Palmer any favors. True justice is not served with cash settlements. We need those involved in her murder to be fired, arrested and charged. We need accountability. We need justice.”

Staff writer, The Root.

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DISCUSSION

I am glad they have gotten something. Justice has still not been served and Breonna can never be brought back.

I hope they did not sign any type of gag order. This story needs to be told and criminal cops need to face justice.