Louisville settles Taylor lawsuit for $12 million, makes reforms
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The city of Louisville has settled a lawsuit brought by the family of Breonna Taylor for $12 million and a list of police reforms sought by the family (watch it here).
The settlement in the death of the 26-year-old paramedic during a botched drug raid was announced by Mayor Greg Fisher, the family and its attorneys Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker.
In fact, Baker said the police reforms that are part of the settlement were “non-negotiable” and that those reforms were more important.
Meanwhile, Crump encouraged Kentucky Attorney Journal Daniel Cameron indict the officers involved for at least second-degree manslaughter.
“We thank Mayor Fisher and his team for committing to these reforms,” Baker said. “It was important for us to give that back to the community.”
Baker also said the community’s call for criminal charges against the three officers involved will not stop.
“This is just the civil case,” she said, noting no further lawsuits will follow, including any suits against the officers involved.
The reforms, some of which already were under way including a new Inspector General’s office, are extensive.
They include a requirement commanders approve all search warrants before they go to a judge, housing credits to officers who agree to live within low-income areas, and drug and alcohol testing of officers involved in any shooting.
In addition, officers will be required to volunteer two hours every two weeks in the community, social service workers to accompany officers on certain calls, detailed reporting by the chief in officers’ personnel files, stricter protocols for seized funds, ad developing an early-warning system to spot potential problems with officers.
The settlement may be another signal major parts of the case, which occurred March 13 when three Louisville Police officers tried to serve a “no-knock” search warrant on her South End apartment, are reaching major milestones.
A Jefferson County grand jury could hear evidence in the case as early as this week, deciding whether to indict the three officers involved on charges related to the fatal shooting, the Courier-Journal reported.
Fisher said the timing of the announcement was not guided by the Grand Jury session.
“This has been in the works for a long time,” Fisher said. “The parties felt it was best to do this now.”
The mayor also said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing by the city but rather an acknowledgement that change is needed.
During Tuesday’s announcement, Fisher’s staff said the settlement will be paid with $5 million from Louisville Metro, and two different payments of $5 million and $2 million from the city’s self-insurance trust funds which include outside insurance.
Taylor was killed when the officers — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and detectives Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — smashed in her apartment door while serving the search warrant which said they were looking for drugs, cash and evidence related to potential drug trafficking involving her previous boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, in another Louisville neighborhood.
The officers claim they announced themselves but Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said they didn’t know who was at the door and when the officers crashed in, Walker claims he fired a warning shot, which struck Mattingly in the leg.
Taylor died in the hail of gunfire that followed.
The city fired Hankinson ad the other two officers have remained on administrative duties as a nationwide tempest has grown calling for the officers to be charged criminally.
The Taylor family sued in April claiming negligence, excessive force and wrongful death.
According to the Courier-Journal, the largest amount the city has paid to date to settle a police misconduct case was $8.5 million to Edwin Chandler in 2012, who was wrongfully imprisoned for more than nine years after Detective Mark Handy perjured himself.
Now, the $12 million settlement may be the largest in the nation in the wrongful death by police for a Black person and is the largest for a Black woman in the country, according to Crump.
“It has been so long getting to this day so we ca assure that Breonna Taylor’s life won’t be swept under the rug…lives won’t be marginalized,” Crump stated.
“Regardless of this landmark step, we still are demanding Attorney General Daniel Cameron immediately…justice delayed is justice denied,” Crump continued, suggesting the officers should at least be charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Breonna’s mother, Tamika Palmer, agreed.
“It’s time to move forward with the criminal charges. She deserves that and much more,” Palmer said.
Others said the settlement is a “great acknowledgment of that wrong done” and “Breonna Taylor’s life.”