The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit and pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman killed by white Louisville Metro Police police officers when they entered her apartment and fatally shot her while she slept as they executed a “no-knock” warrant earlier this year, as reported by CNN. Police reform is also part of the settlement.
“We won’t let Breonna Taylor’s life be swept under the rug,” said attorney Ben Crump at Tuesday’s news conference. Crump said he believes the settlement is the largest settlement ever reached for a Black woman killed by police in the United States, and may also be the largest for a Black person, period, but that is not currently confirmed. He also called for charges to be brought against the officers involved. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, this settlement is the largest in Louisville’s history.
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said, "We must not lose focus on what the real job is, and with that being said, it’s time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more.” She said of her late daughter: “Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground, so please continue to say her name.”
Only one officer involved in the shooting, Brett Hankison, has been fired. The other two involved, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, have been reassigned to administrative roles. None have been charged with a crime.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is investigating the incident, as well as the FBI. Those investigations are still ongoing, separate from this settlement.
Sam Aguiar, one of the attorney’s working with Taylor’s family, said getting justice for Taylor is “a marathon and this is the first mile.” He noted that the city can’t bring charges (that’s the role of the attorney general, Cameron, in this case), but that the city can “change its police practices.”
“The monetary amount, combined with the reforms, is unprecedented for us,” said community organizer Christopher 2X. “In the past, it was monetary or nothing, and usually the city would fight you for years.”
As of now, the settlement includes about a dozen reforms, including the approval process for search warrants, drug and alcohol testing for officers involved in any shooting, incentives for officers to live in certain neighborhoods, and hiring social workers.
You can catch the live stream via YouTube below.