Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, speaks during a news conference announcing a $12 million civil settlement between the estate of Breonna Taylor and the City of Lousiville, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The city of Louisville, Kentucky, settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of Breonna Taylor on Tuesday, agreeing to pay $12 million and enact police reform in the city. Taylor was shot and killed in March during a police raid in her home that raised concerns of how the police carried out the raid. Her death, alongside George Floyd’s, sparked the largest protest movement in American history.

The settlement is one of the largest of its kind in U.S. History and the largest sum Louisville has paid in a police misconduct case. The monetary settlement paired with police reform is unprecedented in such cases. Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, said the reform measures that were part of the settlement were more impactful for her family and the community than the money. 

Mayor Greg Fischer noted that the agreement was not an acknowledgment of wrongdoing by the city, but rather “an acknowledgement of the need for reform.” The extensive reforms include incentivizing officers to live in low-income areas and to volunteer in their communities; dispatching social workers for certain calls; greater oversight from commanding officers; and creating a system to track use of force incidents and investigations. Additionally, in direct response to the lapses that contributed to Taylor’s death, it will be mandatory for ambulances to be nearby when police conduct search warrants.

Meanwhile, the family and protestors continue to push for criminal charges against the three officers involved. “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,” Palmer said. The criminal case against the officers involved in the shooting is still under investigation.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Breonna Taylor’s Family Reaches $12 Million Settlement With City of Louisville – The Root – 9/15/2020
As the Root has previously reported, since police killed Taylor on March 13, two of the three officers who raided her apartment still remain with the Louisville Metro Police Department. The lone officer fired was Brett Hankison, who was already under investigation for two separate incidents, including allegations of sexual assault. He is currently appealing to get his job back. None of the cops have had charges brought against them, and the LMPD remains fully funded.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump calls Breonna Taylor settlement ‘historic’ – The Hill – 9/15/2020
“I believe it may be the largest amount paid for a Black person in a police shooting,” Crump said. “It is certainly … one of the largest amounts paid out by any person in the way of settlement in a police killing in America.” Crump added that police reform proposed by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) and the city council is “equally important” to the settlement. “This is about setting a precedence,” Crump said.  

Law professor weighs in on $12M settlement for Breonna Taylor’s family – CBS News – 9/16/2020
The city of Louisville has agreed to pay Breonna Taylor’s family $12 million in a wrongful death lawsuit, and agreed to institute reforms within the police department. Gloria Browne-Marshall, an associate professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at City University of New York, joins CBSN to explain how the settlement could complicate a potential criminal case against the officers involved.

If you think Breonna Taylor’s family got too much, how much is your daughter worth? – The Courier-Journal – 9/16/2020
How much is your daughter worth? It didn’t take long after Mayor Greg Fischer announced Louisville has agreed to pay the family of Breonna Taylor $12 million to settle the family’s lawsuit against the city for the attacks to start. […] So, I’ll ask those people who claim this was all about money and that her mother looks happier: How much is your daughter worth?

These are all the police reforms included in the Breonna Taylor civil suit settlement – WLKY – 9/15/2020
Those reforms are meant to address several issues including police accountability and the fractured relationship between LMPD and the communities it polices. Some of those reforms include an incentive programs to get officers living in low-income neighborhoods within the city and will encourage officers to volunteer during their shift. Louisville Metro also will hire social workers to assist officers on certain types of calls.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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