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City to pay $12M to Breonna Taylor’s mom, reform police

Breonna Taylor, 26, was killed during a police raid of her Kentucky apartment. Now, the Louisville Metro Police Department will change its policy to require body cameras and change search warrant sign-offs. (Photo Provided/ via CNN)

Ky. (AP) — The city of Louisville will pay $12 million to the family of
Breonna Taylor and reform police practices as part of a lawsuit
settlement months after Taylor’s slaying by police thrust the Black
woman’s name to the forefront of a national reckoning on race, Mayor
Greg Fischer announced Tuesday.

Taylor’s death sparked months of
protests in Louisville and calls nationwide for the officers to be
criminally charged. The state’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, is
investigating police actions in the March 13 fatal shooting.

cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer’s pain, and I am deeply, deeply sorry
for Breonna’s death,” Fischer said, referring to Taylor’s mother,
Tamika Palmer.

At Tuesday’s news conference, an emotional Palmer pushed for charges against the officers involved in the shooting.

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,” Palmer said.

The lawsuit, filed in
April by Palmer, alleged the police used flawed information when they
obtained a “no-knock” warrant to enter the 26-year-old woman’s apartment
in March. Taylor and her boyfriend were roused from bed by police, and
her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, has said he fired once at the officers
thinking it was an intruder. Investigators say police were returning
fire when they shot Taylor several times. No drugs were found at her

“We won’t let Breonna Taylor’s life be swept under the rug,” said Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family.

said the $12 million settlement is the largest such settlement given
out for a Black woman killed by police. He 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.

Fischer said the civil settlement has nothing do with the criminal investigation.

news conference was broadcast over a loudspeaker in downtown Louisville
and protesters listened as they sat around a memorial to Taylor.

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.

Palmer’s lawsuit accused three
Louisville police officers of blindly firing into Taylor’s apartment the
night of the March raid, striking Taylor several times. One of the
officers, Jonathan Mattingly, went into the home after the door was
broken down and was struck in the leg by the gunshot from Walker.

warrant was one of five issued in a wide-ranging investigation of a
drug trafficking suspect who was a former boyfriend of Taylor’s. That
man, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested at a different location about 10
miles (16 kilometers) away from Taylor’s apartment on the same evening.

The settlement includes reforms on how warrants are handled by police, Mayor Fischer said.

city has already taken some reform measures, including passing a law
named for Taylor that bans the use of the no-knock warrants. Police
typically use them in drug cases over concern that evidence could be
destroyed if they announce their arrival.

Fischer fired former
police chief Steve Conrad in June and last week named Yvette Gentry, a
former deputy chief, as the new interim police chief. Gentry would be
the first Black woman to lead the force of about 1,200 sworn officers.
The department has also fired Brett Hankison, one of the three officers
who fired shots at Taylor’s apartment that night. Hankison is appealing
the dismissal.

The largest settlement previously paid in a
Louisville police misconduct case was $8.5 million in 2012, to a man who
spent nine years in prison for a crime he did not commit, according to
news reports.