The city of Louisville, Kentucky, will pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman shot dead by police in a botched raid on her apartment in March, to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit, Mayor Greg Fischer said on Tuesday.
The settlement will be accompanied by reforms of the Louisville Metro Police Department, including a requirement that commanders approve search warrants before they are put to a judge, Fischer said at a news conference, alongside Taylor’s family.
“I’m deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death,” Fischer told reporters. “My administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.”
Taylor’s shooting by police serving a narcotics warrant at her home has sparked months of protests in Louisville and calls nationwide for the officers to be charged in her death. The state’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, is investigating police actions in the March 13 shooting.
The lawsuit, filed in April by her mother, Tamika Palmer, alleged the police used flawed information when they obtained a “no-knock” warrant to enter the Black woman’s apartment in March. Taylor, 26, was shot multiple times and police found no drugs at her home.
Protesters participating in the Good Trouble Tuesday march for Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky [File: Amy Harris/Invision/AP]
The suit accused three Louisville police officers of blindly firing into Taylor’s apartment the night of the March raid, striking Taylor several times. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was in the apartment with her and fired a single shot that struck an officer in the leg. Walker said he did not hear police announce themselves and said he thought he was guarding against an intruder.
“We won’t let Breonna Taylor’s life be swept under the rug,” said Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, on Tuesday.
Palmer has said she is trying to be patient about the results of Cameron’s criminal investigation and the long wait for them – it has been six months since her daughter’s death. At Tuesday’s news conference she 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.”
Crump also called for charges against the officers and urged people to “say her name,” a phrase that has become a refrain for those outraged by the shooting.
The news conference was broadcast over a loudspeaker in downtown Louisville and protesters listened as they sat around a memorial to Taylor.
In the time since Taylor’s shooting, her death – along with George Floyd and others – has become a rallying cry for protesters seeking a reckoning on racial justice and police reform. High-profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and LeBron James have called for the officers to be charged in Taylor’s death.