Louisville Settles Wrongful Death Suit in Breonna Taylor Case

The city of Louisville, KY announced a settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor over the wrongful death suit filed by Taylor’s family.  The settlement announced on Tuesday is the largest amount ever awarded by Louisville in a police misconduct suit the New York Post reported.

According to USA Today the settlement totaled $12 million, but the city admitted to no wrongdoing.  A series of police reforms were also announced as part of the settlement by Louisville mayor Greg Fischer.

The police reforms agreed to as part of the settlement include hiring social workers to accompany police on certain calls, the mandatory presence of paramedics on all search warrant calls, and encouragements to police officers to live and volunteer in the communities they serve.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said after the settlement was announced, “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 was emotional as she spoke about her daughter’s legacy.  “As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna,” she said. “Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground, so please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor.”

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was killed when Louisville police executed a ‘no knock’ search warrant at Taylor’s apartment.  She was asleep when she was shot multiple times.

Police claim they knocked at the door of Taylor’s apartment and said they were the police before forcing entry.  This is disputed by Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who said that the police failed to identify themselves.  Walker, who was legally licensed to carry a gun, opened fire and wounded an officer in the leg.  According to the police account, they only fired after Walker had done so first.  Walker claims the police simply fired blindly into the apartment.

Police were searching for illegal drugs in Taylor’s apartment.  They believed they had been hidden there by Jamarcus Glover, a former boyfriend of Taylor, who was arrested on the same night around 10 miles away.  A subsequent search of Taylor’s apartment failed to turn up any drugs.

Of the three officers involved in the shooting, two have been placed on leave and one was fired.  Interim Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote in the termination letter of Brett Hankison that Hankison had, “wantonly and blindly fired 10 shots into the apartment of Breonna Taylor. I find your conduct a shock to the conscience. I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.”

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is conducting an investigation of the officers’ actions, but so far no charges have been filed in the matter.  A Jefferson County grand jury has been convened to hear evidence in the case.  Cameron refused to speculate on when the investigation will be completed.

The settlement closes the lawsuit which the family had filed back in April.

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