The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has agreed to pay $ 12 million to the family of Breona Taylor, a black woman killed at home by police.
Breona Taylor was 26 when she was shot at least five times on March 13 during an attack with the wrong drug.
The black woman’s name has appeared prominently in anti-racism protests in recent months.
Lonita Baker, a lawyer for Breona Taylor’s family, called the agreement a “layer” in the search for justice and praised the new police reforms.
“Justice for Breona is multifaceted,” she told a news conference on Sept. 15 with Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher.
She called the agreement “huge, but only part of what the family hopes for, including the arrest of police officers involved in her death.”
“Today, what we did here was do what we can do to bring in a little bit of police reform, and that’s just the beginning,” continued Leonita Baker.
“But we finished the first mile of the marathon and we still have many miles to go and not cross this finish line.”
The settlement includes a series of police reforms in Louisville, including requiring all search warrants to be approved by a senior official and giving housing loans to employees who move to low-income neighborhoods they patrol the city.
In a brief statement, Breona Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, called for criminal charges against police officers and asked people to continue to say their daughter’s name publicly in defense of police reforms.
The agreement is the largest amount paid in the event of a police violation in Louisville’s history, according to Louisville Courier Journal.
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The murder of Breona Taylor was prompted again in the spotlight with the death of George Floyd, an African-American who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May.
George Floyd’s death sparked global protests against racism and led to a new focus on police brutality.
Shortly after midnight on March 13, three officers entered Breona Taylor’s apartment, carrying out an unprecedented search warrant, a court document that allowed police to enter a home without warning.
Breona Taylor and her partner Kenneth Walker were asleep when the commotion began.
Officers exchanged fire with Kenneth Walker, a licensed gun owner, who called 911 to believe the drug attack was a theft. Police – who fired more than 25 bullets – said they returned fire after an officer was shot and wounded.
During the exchange, Breona Taylor, an emergency medical technician, was shot eight times and later died.
No drugs were found in the property.
The lawsuit, filed by Breona Taylor’s family, accuses police of battery life, wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence. It is also said that the police are not looking for her or her partner, but for an unrelated suspect who does not live in the complex.
Breona Taylor’s family also accused police of leading the attack as a plot to ennoble the neighborhood. The mayor of Louisville dismissed the allegation as “outrageous” and “without justification or supporting facts.”
One of the officers involved in the raid, Brett Hankison, was fired in June. The other two – Jonathan Matingley and Miles Cosgrove – were put on administrative leave.
The Louisville police chief was also fired in June after a separate police shooting.
A grand jury may soon decide whether criminal charges should be brought against any of the employees.
To Freedom, a social justice organization that held rallies for Breona Taylor, issued a statement saying: “No money will return Breona Taylor.”
“True justice is not enforced by monetary settlements,” add the group.
“The perpetrators of her murder must be arrested and charged. We need accountability. We need justice. “
Earlier this year, Louisville City Council voted unanimously to ban insensitivity orders. Similar legislation, which will ban warrants across the country, has been introduced in Congress.