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Louisville Agrees To $12 Million Settlement With Breonna Taylor's Family

Emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot and killed by police in her home in March. Her name has become a rallying cry in protests against police brutality and social injustice.
Taylor Family
Emergency medical technician Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot and killed by police in her home in March. Her name has become a rallying cry in protests against police brutality and social injustice.

Updated at 2:53 p.m. ET

The city of Louisville, Ky., announceda $12 million settlement Tuesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Breonna Taylor.

The settlement also includes a series of police reforms to be adopted by the Louisville Metro Police Department, including establishing a housing incentive program to encourage officers to live in low-income neighborhoods within the city.

Other changes to police tactics include creating a clearer command structure when executing warrants at multiple locations.

Louisville police shot and killed Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, during a botched narcotics raid at her home in March.

Taylor's case has become a rallying cry in the ongoing national protests against police brutality, like other cases of Black people killed or severely injured by law enforcement this year, including George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and Jacob Blake.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's announcement comes 186 days after Taylor's killing.

"Her death has ignited a movement in Louisville and the nation for racial justice, sending thousands into our streets and cities all across the country and the world all crying out for justice for Breonna," Fischer said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Lonita Baker, a Taylor family attorney, called the settlement against the officers "tremendous."

"When officers cause the death of an individual, it is imperative that we seek justice not only in the criminal system but also in our civil system," Baker said at the press conference.

"But it's important to know here that a financial settlement was nonnegotiable without significant police reform."

Louisville officials have been under mounting pressure to overhaul policing tactics following Taylor's death and protests that followed, which at times became violent.

In June, the Louisville Metro Council voted unanimously to ban no-knock warrants such as the one used during the raid on Taylor's home.

The announcement of the settlement comes as Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron continues to conduct a criminal investigation into the March 13 shooting. Cameron, a Republican and the state's first Black attorney general, is considering whether to bring charges against the three white officers involved in Taylor's death.

The Louisville Metro Police Department fired one officer, Brett Hankison, in June. Two other officers — Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove — have been reassigned to administrative duties.

Cameron, who took over as special prosecutor in the case in May, was reported to be close to presenting his findings to a grand jury. But in a statement last week, he apparently sought to tamp down on such speculation.

"My office is continually asked about a timeline regarding the investigation into the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor," Cameron said.

"When the investigation concludes and a decision is made, we will provide an update about an announcement," he continued. "The news will come from our office and not from unnamed sources. Until that time, the investigation remains ongoing."

Kenneth Walker, Taylor's boyfriend, was with her the night of the raid. He maintains he never heard police announce themselves before they burst through the front door.

The officers said they announced their presence before entering the home.

Walker, a licensed gun owner, said he and Taylor were startled by the commotion, and he fired a warning shot that hit one of the officers in the leg.

The officers returned fire, striking Taylor multiple times and killing her. None of the officers was using body cameras during the raid.

The city requires all officers to wear and use body cameras when serving warrants, according to Louisville NPR member station WFPL. The mayor earlier this year ordered a comprehensive review of the police department by an outside firm.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.