Six months after emergency health worker Breonna Taylor was shot dead by police at her home, the city of Louisville has accepted a major deal with the family.. The deal includes a $ 12 million payment for the family along with a series of police reforms, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced at a news conference Tuesday.
“I can’t imagine Mrs Palmer’s grief, and I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death,” Fischer said, referring to Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer.
Taylor was shot multiple times as Louisville officers carried out a search warrant on her home on March 1
The death of Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was among numerous police shootings across the country that galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement and a nationwide push for police reform and racial justice.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump called the $ 12 million deal “historic” but also called for officers involved in Taylor’s death to be held criminally responsible.
“We won’t let Breonna Taylor’s life be wiped out,” said Crump.
Protesters have been demanding for months for officers to be indicted and several celebrities have joined in their calls for justice. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is investigating the officers’ actions but has declined to offer a timeline for a potential indictment decision.
Speaking Tuesday, Tamika Palmer demanded that the officers involved be charged.
“As significant as it is today, it’s just the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna,” Palmer said.
Attorney Lonita Baker called the deal “dire,” but called it only part of a “tiered” push for justice for Taylor. He said the financial deal would be “non-negotiable” without significant police reform, “and that’s what we have been able to do here today.”
Fischer said the reforms require the department to retain social workers to help officers on certain response calls; require officers to undergo random drug testing once a year; and include measures to incentivize officials to live and volunteer in the communities they serve.
Fischer also announced changes to the search warrant process, saying that officers-in-command will now be required to review search warrant applications before officers seek judicial approval. It also announced updates to the internal investigation process and the implementation of an early warning system that will track incidents related to the use of force, citizen complaints and investigations to identify officers in need of assistance or training.
“Justice for Breonna means we will continue to save lives in her honor,” Palmer said in a statement. “No amount of money can do that, but the police reform measures that we have managed to pass as part of this deal mean much more to my family, our community and Breonna’s legacy.”
Fischer said the city does not admit wrongdoing under the agreement.
Baker called the settlement “the first mile of a marathon” and said the family will continue to push for officers to be held criminally responsible.
Two of the officers involved in the case were put on leave and one, Brett Hankison, was fired. In a vicious June letter announcing the initiation of the closure proceedings, acting chief of the Louisville Metropolitan Police Robert Schroeder said that Hankison “fired arbitrarily and blindly 10 shots into Breonna Taylor’s apartment.”
“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Schroeder wrote. “I am alarmed and amazed that you have used deadly force in this way.”
Police say they knocked and identified themselves prior to the raid, but according to the lawsuit, Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker said officers never said they were the police until they knocked on the door. Walker, a licensed gun owner, said he opened fire in self-defense because he thought someone was trying to get in, the lawsuit says. An officer was shot in the leg. Louisville police say the officers were “shot immediately” and returned fire, hitting Taylor multiple times, but the lawsuit accuses three officers of blindly firing into the apartment.
The lawsuit accuses police of using incorrect information when obtaining a “no knock” warrant for a drug investigation into Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested the same night about 10 miles away. No drugs were found in Taylor’s home, and neither Taylor nor Walker had a criminal record, according to the lawsuit.
The cityin June in the midst of public indignation over the case.
Taylor was studying to be a nurse and worked at two local hospitals.