The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has reached a record $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, the emergency medical technician shot to death by police in her own home.
The settlement was announced by city officials and Taylor’s family on Tuesday afternoon and includes a major police reform package.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer began the news conference by saying Taylor’s death 186 days ago “ignited a movement in Louisville and the nation for racial justice.” Speaking directly to Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, Fischer said, “I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer’s pain and I’m deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death.”
Fischer said that in addition to the monetary settlement, the largest in a police use-of-force case in Louisville history, the city will implement a series of police department reforms “to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.”
Among the reforms will be building stronger connections between police and the communities they serve by establishing a housing credit program to incentivize officers to live in certain low-income census tracts in the city. Officers will also be encouraged to volunteer two hours every two-week pay period in the communities they serve.
The mayor said a program would be established to include social workers in the Louisville Metro Police Department, as well as reforms that call for more transparency and accountability for police officers.
Random drug testing of officers will be increased and the city will negotiate with the police union in 2021 to expand on the disciplinary records that can be maintained in an officer’s personnel file. The city will also institute an “early warning system” to track all use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints.
Lonita Baker, an attorney for the Taylor family, said a settlement was “non-negotiable without significant police reform.”
An emotional Palmer added that the fight for justice for her daughter does not stop with the settlement. ”As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna,” Palmer said.
The three officers involved in the shooting were placed on administrative reassignment pending the results of an investigation. One officer was later fired. None of the three have been arrested.
By Bill Hutchinson, Sabina Ghebremedhin, and Stephanie Wash
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