The city of Louisville on Tuesday announced a $12 million financial settlement with Breonna Taylor’s family, eclipsing previous payouts made by police
“I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said before announcing a series of reform measures aimed at preventing future deaths.
“These are significant policy changes on top of many others we have already made including those that are part of Breonna’s Law as well as changes to policies on use of force and if tear gas would ever need to be used,” he added.
Taylor was fatally shot by police in her apartment six months ago following a no-knock search warrant. Her death has led to widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism across the country.
Since Taylor’s shooting, Fischer has banned the use of no-knock warrants, which allow the police to forcibly enter a person’s home and search it without warning.
The Taylor settlement would also see the city make changes on how police warrants are carried out by officers.
Lonita Baker, a lawyer representing Taylor’s family, said Tuesday’s civil settlement was “non negotiable without significant police reform.”
In June, the Louisville Metro Police Department fired Brett Hankison, one of three officers involved in Taylor’s fatal shooting – a step that marked the most significant action taken in the case so far, but one that also drew public condemnation because no one had been formally criminally charged in her death.
However, Daniel Cameron, the Kentucky attorney general, a Republican and the state’s first Black attorney general, is considering whether to bring charges against the three White officers involved in Taylor’s death.
Taylor’s family sued the city on April 27 and named the three officers involved – Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove – as defendants.
The suit alleged Taylor’s life was wrongfully taken, that the officers used excessive force and that the search was grossly negligent. It also claimed that Taylor’s death was the result of Louisville police’s effort to clear out a block for gentrification and that the recently formed Place-Based Investigations unit consisted of “rogue” cops who violated “all levels of policy, protocol and policing standards.”
City officials have denied that the shooting was the product of a push to gentrify.
Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker – a legal gun owner who fired a “warning shot” seconds before the police broke down the door – has also filed a civil lawsuit against the city and police department. Walker fired a shot that allegedly struck Mattingly in the leg.
Walker was charged initially with the attempted murder of a police officer but it was later dropped. Walker has alleged that the charge was “meant to silence me and cover up Breonna’s murder.”
Tuesday’s settlement is the largest amount the city has paid to settle allegations of police misconduct was $8.5 million to Edwin Chandler in 2012. Chandler was wrongfully imprisoned for almost a decade after Detective Mark Handy perjured himself, the Courier-Journal reported.