JUSTICE

City to pay millions to Breonna Taylor’s mom, reform police

Sep 15, 2020, 1:44 PM
Breonna Taylor settlement...
FILE - Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor, addresses the media in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. The city of Louisville will pay several million dollars to the mother of Breonna Taylor and install police reforms as part of a settlement of a lawsuit from Taylor’s family, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan, FIle)
(AP Photo/Dylan Lovan, FIle)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The city of Louisville will pay millions to the mother of Breonna Taylor and reform police practices as part of a lawsuit settlement months after Taylor’s slaying by police thrust the Black woman’s name to the forefront of a national reckoning on race.

A person who has seen the settlement told The Associated Press it is the largest sum paid by the city for a police misconduct case. The source asked not to be identified because the settlement has not been announced publicly.

Taylor’s death sparked months of protests in Louisville and calls nationwide for the officers to be criminally charged. The state’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, is investigating police actions in the March 13 fatal shooting.

The lawsuit, filed in April by Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, alleged the police used flawed information when they obtained a “no-knock” warrant to enter the 26-year-old woman’s apartment in March. Taylor and her boyfriend were roused from bed by police, and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, has said he fired once at the officers thinking it was an intruder. Investigators say police were returning fire when they shot Taylor several times. No drugs were found at her home.

Palmer has said she is trying to be patient about the results of Cameron’s criminal investigation and the long wait, which is now six months since her daughter’s death.

In that time, her daughter’s slaying — along with George Floyd and others — has become a rallying cry for protesters seeking a reckoning on racial justice and police reform. High-profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and LeBron James have called for the officers to be charged in Taylor’s death.

Palmer’s lawsuit accused three Louisville police officers of blindly firing into Taylor’s apartment the night of the March raid, striking Taylor several times. One of the officers, Jonathan Mattingly, went into the home after the door was broken down and was struck in the leg by the gunshot from Walker.

The warrant was one of five issued in a wide-ranging investigation of a drug trafficking suspect who was a former boyfriend of Taylor’s. That man, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested at a different location about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away from Taylor’s apartment on the same evening.

The settlement includes reforms on how warrants are handled by police. The city of Louisville is expected to announce the details Tuesday afternoon.

The city has already taken some reform measures, including passing a law named for Taylor that bans the use of the no-knock warrants. Police typically use them in drug cases over concern that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival.

Mayor Greg Fischer fired former police chief Steve Conrad in June and last week named Yvette Gentry, a former deputy chief, as the new interim police chief. Gentry would be the first Black woman to lead the force of about 1,200 sworn officers. The department has also fired Brett Hankison, one of the three officers who fired shots at Taylor’s apartment that night. Hankison is appealing the dismissal.

The largest settlement previously paid in a Louisville police misconduct case was $8.5 million in 2012, to a man who spent nine years in prison for a crime he did not commit, according to news reports.

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City to pay millions to Breonna Taylor’s mom, reform police