Months after the fatal murder of Breonna Taylor by white police officers in a negligent raid last March, her family has obtained some justice.
According to The New York Times, the City of Louisville agreed to pay the family $12 million and institute reforms aimed at “preventing future deaths by officers.”
The agreement was announced Tuesday by the legal team and city officials as protesters gathered outside City Hall. Family lawyer Ben Crump said the settlement ensured that Taylor’s “life wouldn’t be swept under the rug like so many other Black women in America who have been killed by police, marginalized.”
Social discontent over systemic racism and the epidemic of racially biased police violence in the country was key to the settlement because, as the Times explains, the agreement was “relatively quick” compared to other cases of police negligence deaths which have often “dragged through court for years.”
“It was sizable, with her family receiving more than double the amount paid to the relatives of Eric Garner, the New York man who died in a police chokehold in 2014,” the media adds. “Most of all, it was unusual because of the range of reforms — a dozen in all — that the embattled city agreed to adopt in an effort to quell the protests that have left the downtown boarded up.”
Similarly, the police reforms promised by the city will require more supervision by senior officials and will make mandatory the safeguards that were common practice in the department but were not followed on the night of the fatal raid on March 13.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed by Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove. The plainclothes officers entered her apartment executing a no-knock search warrant and exchanged gunfire with Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who believed the officers were intruders.
The three officers were placed on administrative reassignment, but upon completion of the investigation conducted by the police department’s internal Professional Integrity Unit, none has been charged with murder.
As stated by another member of the family’s legal team, Lonita Baker, the financial settlement and police reform are only the beginning of a substantial long-term change.
“We recognize that this reform is not all-encompassing, and there’s still work to be done. And we commit our time, our talent and our resources to continue to work with the community to fight the systemic racism plaguing our city,” she said during the press conference. “We will continue to work on behalf and with the protesters who have put their freedom on the line to bring awareness to not just Breonna Taylor, but to the systemic problems facing our city. For we know that without their voice, we would not be here today.”
Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, also spoke briefly, saying: “As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna. We must not lose focus on what the real drive is, and with that being said, it’s time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more. Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground, so please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor.”