Family of black woman shot dead by US police to get $12m in settlement

She was killed when police burst into her home using a “no knock” arrest warrant that did not require them to announce themselves.

Breonna Taylor was a qualified EMT. Pic: Family

The family of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed black woman shot dead during a US police drug raid, is to receive $12m (£9.3m) from the city of Louisville in Kentucky.

As part of the financial settlement over a civil lawsuit brought by her mother Tamika Palmer, there will also be policing reforms, including how warrants are handled by officers.

Louisville mayor Greg Fischer announced the settlement at a news conference, saying: “I cannot begin to imagine Ms Palmer’s pain, and I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death.”

Ms Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed in March when police burst into her apartment at night using a so-called “no knock” arrest warrant that did not require them to announce themselves.

Breonna Taylor memorial
Image:A memorial for Ms Taylor in the city of Louisville

Police typically use them in drug cases over concerns that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival.

Ms Taylor was woken from her bed before being shot several times.null

Police found no drugs at her home and the killing sparked months of protests in the city.

There were also nationwide calls, including from TV host Oprah Winfrey and basketball star LeBron James, for the officers involved to be charged.

Protesters
Image:Protesters call for justice for Ms Taylor

At the news conference, an emotional Ms Palmer pushed for charges against the officers.

She said: “We must not lose focus on what the real job is, and with that being said, it’s time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more.”

Some of the protests happened at the same time as other Black Lives Matter demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Ms Palmer filed a lawsuit in April against three Louisville officers, accusing them of wrongfully causing her daughter’s death.

The lawsuit alleged police used flawed information when they obtained the “no knock” warrant to enter the apartment, used excessive force and the search was grossly negligent.

Officer Brett Hankison, who shot 10 rounds blindly into the apartment, was sacked in June.

Officer Myles Cosgrove and Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly, who also opened fire, have been placed on administrative leave, along with the detective who requested the warrant.

None of the officers involved in the case have been charged.

Ms Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was in the apartment with Ms Taylor and fired a single shot that struck an officer in the leg.

Mr Walker said he did not hear police announce themselves and said he thought he was guarding against an intruder.

The warrant was one of five issued as part of an investigation into drug suspect Jamarcus Glover, who was a former boyfriend of Ms Taylor’s.

Louisville has already taken some reform measures, including passing ‘Breonna’s Law’ that bans the use of no knock warrants.

Kentucky’s attorney general Daniel Cameron is investigating police actions over the 13 March shooting. It is also being looked into by the FBI.

Lewis Hamilton
Image:Lewis Hamilton wore a black T-shirt declaring ‘Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor’ after he won the Tuscan Grand Prix

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton, after winning the Tuscan Grand Prix on Sunday, wore a black T-shirt declaring “arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” on the front of it and “say her name” on the back over a photograph of the 26-year-old.

The six-time Formula One world champion has said he would not let up on using his platform to campaign for racial justice.

A spokesman for the sport’s governing body, the FIA, said there would be no formal investigation into the British driver’s actions in Italy.

Analysis: Without prosecutions, it’s hard to see peace
By Cordelia Lynch, US correspondent

The settlement was reached relatively quickly when you compare it with other cases of fatal police shootings. Sometimes, they can be fought in the courts over years not months.

The amount – $12m – is also historic: the largest ever paid by the city’s police. It is more than double what the family of Eric Garner were granted after he died in a police chokehold in 2014.

But what is perhaps most striking are the range of reforms that have been agreed on… changes to the approval process and execution of search warrants, the hiring of social workers in the force and a commitment to increase drug and alcohol testing of officers involved in any shooting.

The breadth of those changes show the city acknowledges they needed to make clear strides in the right direction and swiftly.

But this is the start of the mountain not the peak for Breonna Taylor’s family and the many protesters that have supported them.

The Kentucky Attorney General is still investigating the incident. So is the FBI. A grand jury enlisted in Jefferson County will hear the criminal case and decide whether to charge the officer involved.

Without prosecutions, it is hard to see peace.

Activists and militia who have taken to Louisville’s streets recently, won’t rest until charges are brought.

Legal experts say that might not be possible though. The officers were fired upon first (by Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend who says he mistook them for intruders). Their actions may be protected under Kentucky’s statute allowing the police to use lethal force in self-defence.(skynews)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.