The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has agreed to pay $12m to the family of Breonna Taylor, a black woman whose killing by police earlier this year spurred anti-racism protests, as part of a settlement that includes policing reforms.
Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March in her apartment after they broke down her door in executing a “no knock” search warrant after midnight. Her family subsequently brought a wrongful-death lawsuit.
The financial settlement announced on Tuesday is among the largest ever agreed in a police killing case, according to a lawyer for Taylor’s family. The reforms include greater oversight for search warrants and incentives for Louisville officers to live in the communities they police.
Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, welcomed the agreement but pressed for charges to be brought against the officers who killed her daughter.
“As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna,” she said at a press conference. “It’s time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more.”
Taylor’s death has become a focal point in the anti-racism protests that have swept across the US over the past few months, following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis in May. Her killing has sparked a movement highlighting police violence against black women with the slogan “Say her name”.
No officers have been charged in connection with Taylor’s death. The Kentucky attorney-general’s office and the FBI are investigating the shooting.
The night-time raid on Taylor’s apartment came as part of a narcotics investigation of two men, including a person she had previously dated.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, had been with her boyfriend, who was lawfully armed. When police broke down the door, Taylor’s boyfriend fired a shot, not knowing who was entering the apartment. The officers fired 20 shots in return, striking Taylor five times.
Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, said on Tuesday he was “deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death”. The settlement agreed by the city does not include an admission of wrongdoing.
The police reforms included in the deal align with those demanded by protesters across the US this year.
Louisville police will move to include social workers when handling calls relating to people with mental health issues and implement an “early warning system” to ensure complaints against police officers are properly tracked and acted upon, Mr Fischer said.
The changes also include ensuring that commanding officers in the police department sign off on any search warrant applications. Louisville city council previously passed “Breonna’s Law” in June, which banned the use of “no knock” warrants.