Louisville announces $12M settlement, police reforms in wake of Breonna Taylor shooting

Andrew Wolfson, Darcy Costello and Tessa Duvall, Louisville Courier Journal

 


The settlement was announced at a 2 p.m. press conference at Mayor Fischer's office, with Taylor's family and attorneys Ben Crump, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker.

In addition to the payment, the deal includes several policing reforms, including a requirement that commanders approve all search warrants before they go to a judge. The accord also provides housing credits to officers who agree to live within the city, and it would seek the authority for drug and alcohol testing of officers involved in any shooting.

Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor's family, said the city's handling of the case has been slow and frustrating. But, Aguiar said he hopes Metro Government's willingness to discuss significant police reforms is "a turning point."

A large settlement in the civil suit brought by Taylor's family comes as a Jefferson County grand jury may hear the criminal case as soon as this week. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is spearheading the criminal investigation. 

The grand jury would decide whether criminal charges should be filed against any of the three officers involved in her shooting death March 13 during a search for drugs, cash and other evidence in her South End apartment that went awry.

Taylor, 26, was shot and killed after Louisville Metro Police officers broke down her apartment door March 13 to serve a signed no-knock search warrant in connection with a narcotics investigation centered 10 miles away. 

Police say they knocked and announced their presence, but Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he and Taylor didn't know who was pounding on the door. When police battered in the door, Walker fired what he later called a warning shot. Police say it struck Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly in the thigh. Mattingly and two other officers — detectives Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove — returned fire. Taylor was hit five times and died in her hallway. 

Hankison has been fired while Cosgrove and Mattingly remain on administrative reassignment.

The suit was filed April 27 and named the three officers as defendants.

It alleges Taylor's life was wrongfully taken, that police used excessive force and the search was grossly negligent.

An amended complaint filed about two months later additionally claimed Taylor's death was the result of Louisville police's effort to clear out a block for gentrification, and the newly formed Place-Based Investigations unit consisted of "rogue police" who violated "all levels of policy, protocol and policing standards."

City officials vehemently denied the accusations that gentrification played any role in the narcotics investigation. 

The case picked up steam and media coverage in May when local attorneys for the estate, Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker, were joined by Florida-based attorney Ben Crump. He has represented Black Americans killed in controversial shootings, including Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown Jr. and Tamir Rice. 

"LMPD has tried to sweep this under the rug," Aguiar said at the time. "The family right now has a very understandable desire to know the full circumstance of what went on that night."

Taylor's family alleged in the suit the warrant served at Taylor's apartment was targeted at Jamarcus Glover, a convicted drug dealer had been located by police at a drug house 10 miles away before the warrant was served on Taylor's residence.

warrant listed Taylor's name and address, but the main narcotics investigation was centered around Glover and co-defendants' alleged trafficking on Elliott Avenue in Louisville's Russell neighborhood.