Louisville settles Breonna Taylor’s wrongful death lawsuit for $12 million

Originally Published: 15 SEP 20 08:36 ET
Updated: 15 SEP 20 15:11 ET

(CNN) — The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor and institute a series of police reforms to settle the family’s wrongful death lawsuit.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Taylor’s family and their attorneys announced the settlement in a joint press conference on Tuesday. Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was killed in her home by police on March 13.

As part of the settlement, the city agreed to establish a housing credit program to incentivize officers to live in the areas they serve; use social workers to provide support on certain police runs; and require commanders to approve search warrants before seeking judicial approval, among other changes.

“In Louisville, Kentucky, we took significant steps today in the name of Breonna Taylor of trying to correct this broken criminal justice system,” family attorney Benjamin Crump said.

Crump added that he believed the $12 million payout is the largest amount ever paid out for a Black woman killed by police in the US and possibly the most ever for a Black person killed by police.

Crump, attorney Lonita Baker and Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, all continued to push for criminal charges against the officers despite the civil settlement.

“Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground, so please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor,” Palmer said.

The settlement comes more than six months after Louisville Metro Police officers broke down the door to Taylor’s apartment and fatally shot her while executing a late-night, “no-knock” warrant in a narcotics investigation.

A CNN review of the shooting found that police believed Taylor was home alone when she was in fact accompanied by her boyfriend, who was legally armed. That miscalculation, along with the decision to press forward with a high-risk, forced-entry raid under questionable circumstances, contributed to the deadly outcome.

Taylor’s boyfriend, who said he believed the home was being broken into, shot and injured an officer, and police killed Taylor in the return fire. The officers were not wearing body cameras, police said.

Until Freedom, a social justice organization that has protested in Louisville, released a statement Tuesday reacting to the reported city settlement.

“No amount of money will bring back Breonna Taylor,” the group said. “We see this settlement as the bare minimum you can do for a grieving mother. The city isn’t doing her any favors. True justice is not served with cash settlements. We need those involved in her murder to be arrested and charged. We need accountability. We need justice.”

The Louisville Metro Police Department declined to comment. The police union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kentucky AG leads criminal investigation

None of the three officers involved in the flawed raid has been charged with a crime. One officer, Brett Hankinson, was fired in late June for “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 rounds into her apartment, then-interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote.

The fatal police shooting has led to months of protests in Louisville and across the country under the overarching Black Lives Matter movement against anti-Black racism and police violence. Since her death, the police chief was fired in June after a separate police shooting, and the Louisville city council passed “Breonna’s Law,” which banned no-knock search warrants.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the first Black person to hold the post and a Republican rising star, was made a special prosecutor in the case earlier this year, and the FBI has opened an investigation as well.

A grand jury has been empaneled to investigate the shooting, though an announcement has not been made about those proceedings.

Cameron is expected to announce a charging decision soon, though he has declined to provide a specific timeline.

“My office is continually asked about a timeline regarding the investigation into the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor. An investigation, if done properly, cannot follow a specific timeline,” Cameron tweeted last week.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name of Taylor’s family attorney. Sam Aguiar is their attorney.