WASHINGTON – The city of Louisville, Kentucky, announced on Tuesday that it will pay $12 million to Breonna Taylor’s family and institute police reforms to settle a wrongful death lawsuit over cops’ fatal shooting of the 26-year-old Black woman inside her own home.
Mayor Greg Fischer, Taylor’s mother and attorneys representing the family addressed the settlement at a press conference.
The paramedic died on March 13 during a “no-knock” police raid on her apartment that was a part of a narcotics investigation targeting her ex-boyfriend.
Taylor shared the residence with her new boyfriend, a licensed gun-owner who fired shots in reaction to what he thought was a break-in.
The police returned fire, killing Taylor and wounding her boyfriend.
No drugs were found and a subsequent review found that the officers conducted the raid based on erroneous information.
Besides the $12 million for Taylor’s family, the accord requires search warrants to be approved by senior police officers and creates housing credits to encourage members of the Louisville force to live in the neighborhoods they patrol.
The victim’s mother, Tamika Palmer, emphasized the commitment to police reform.
“Justice for Breonna means that we will continue to save lives in her honor. No amount of money accomplishes that, but the police reform measures that we were able to get passed as a part of this settlement mean so much more to my family, our community, and to Breonna’s legacy,” Palmer said.
Taylor’s killing immediately gave rise to protests in Louisville, but came to national and international attention in the course of the demonstrations across the United States following the May 25 death at police hands of George Floyd.
“I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer’s pain,” Mayor Fischer said. “And I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death.”
Fischer said that the settlement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing on the part of the city.
“Justice for Breonna is multi-layered,” Taylor family attorney Lonita Baker said at the press conference.
“Today what we did here was to do what we could do to bring a little bit of police reform and it’s just a start,” she said. “But we finished the first mile in the marathon and we’ve got a lot more miles to go to until we achieve and cross that finish line.”
Another lawyer for the family, Benjamin Crump, described the $12 million settlement as “historic” and said that it was among the largest amounts ever paid for the police killing of a Black woman in the US.