LOUISVILLE -- The family of Breonna Taylor and the city of Louisville, Kentucky, announced a record $12 million settlement Tuesday after the Black EMT was shot dead by police in a botched raid in March.
The settlement is the largest ever paid by the city in an officer-involved shooting case.
The pact also made history for the long list of police reforms that the Louisville Metro Police Department will implement.
The reforms include the requirement that commanding officers now must approve all search warrant applications before judicial approval is sought. The department also will implement an “early warning system” that will track use of force incidents.
“As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna,” Taylor’s mom Tamika Palmer said at the news conference announcing the landmark restitution.
“It’s time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more,” Palmer said. “Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground, so please continue to say her name, Breonna Taylor.”
Mayor Greg Fischer told Palmer he was “deeply, deeply sorry” for her loss.
“Thank you Ms. Palmer. Thank you for your grace and for your strength and for your love for Breonna — and for our city as well — and your determination to make this city a more just city,” he said.
Taylor, 26, died March 13 after three plainclothes Louisville Metropolitan Police officers used a battering ram to burst into her apartment after midnight while executing a “no knock” search warrant connected to a narcotics investigation.
Officer Brett Hankison “blindly” fired 10 rounds into the apartment during the ensuing chaos, LMPD Chief Robert Schroeder said in a letter advising Hankison of his firing in June.
“I’m grateful to the actions of the city of Louisville today,” family lawyer Benjamin Crump said, calling the $12 million settlement “the largest amount ever paid out for a Black woman killed by police in America.”
“The comprehensive reform … is equally important, because this is about setting a precedent,” he said.
“This sets a precedent for other Black women, that their lives won’t be marginalized,” he said. “These dangerous no-knock warrants are disproportionately executed against Black people in America.”
Fellow family lawyer Lonita Baker also cast the deal as record-setting.
“This is unheard of in one of these cases, where you get a financial settlement and police reform,” she said.
“Justice for Breonna Taylor is multilayered. We are not going to stop our calls to hold the officers responsible for Breonna’s death responsible,” she said.
“We have faith that an indictment is coming from the grand jury,” she said. “We’ve finished the first mile in a marathon, and we’ve got a lot more miles to go until we achieve and cross that finish line.”
Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker had just tucked into bed for the night when the officers entered their apartment in search of drugs and cash that were not there.
Walker, a licensed gun owner, thought he and Taylor were victims of a home invasion. He fired a warning shot, which authorities said struck Sgt. John Mattingly in the thigh.
“Somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” Walker said in his distressed 911 call.
Taylor was struck eight times in the ensuing chaos. She died on the scene.
In response, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit on April 27, accusing the officers of excessive force and negligence in their search of Taylor’s South End apartment.
The largest amount previously paid by the city was the hefty $8.5 million to Edwin Chandler in 2012, who was wrongfully imprisoned for more than nine years after Detective Mark Handy perjured himself.
The new settlement announced Tuesday also includes incentives for officers who agree to live within Louisville city limits.
“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 about significant reform was a step in the right direction,” attorney Sam Aguilar said in a statement to CNN.
A Jefferson County grand jury in Kentucky is currently mulling whether to bring criminal charges in the deadly shooting. While Hankison has been fired over the matter, there have been no charges filed in the case.
Both Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove remain on administrative reassignment.
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