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Star-studded PSA Demands Justice for Breonna Taylor [WATCH]
The city of Louisville has agreed to pay Breonna Taylor's family a record-breaking $12 million in a wrongful death lawsuit as the slain black EMT's mother continued calls for the officers involved to be charged.
The settlement, which brings an end to the wrongful death lawsuit that Taylor's mother Tamika Palmer filed against the city and its police department back in April, is the largest amount the city has ever paid.
At a press conference on Tuesday announcing the settlement, Taylor's mother pushed for charges against the officers involved in the shooting.
'As significant as today is, it is only the beginning,' Palmer 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.'
In addition to the $12 million, the settlement will also include a series of police reforms for Louisville. Among the reforms is a requirement that police commanders must approve all search warrants before they are sent to a judge.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was gunned down back in March when Louisville police burst into her apartment using a no-knock arrest warrant that did not require them to announce themselves.
The city of Louisville has agreed to pay Breonna Taylor's family $12 million as part of a settlement six months after police shot the black EMT dead in her apartment
Taylor's mother Tamika Palmer said on Tuesday that the settlement was significant but it was time to move forward with charging the officers involved in her shooting death
Her slaying set off weeks of protests, policy changes and a call for the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers who shot Taylor to be criminally charged.
One of the officers, Brett Hankison, was fired for 'blindly' firing 10 shots into Taylor's apartment from outside. The other two, John Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, remain on the force on administrative assignment.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is still investigating the shooting, is expected to announce this week whether criminal charges will be filed against the officers involved.
Mayor Greg Fischer said on Tuesday that the city was not waiting for Cameron's decision regarding any criminal charges.
'I'm deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna's death,' Fischer said. 'My administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.'
As part of the settlement, Mayor Fischer said Louisville police officers will be offered housing credits to move to some of the poorest parts of the city in the hopes of improving community ties.
From left, Attorney Ben Crump, Breonna Taylor's mother Tamika Palmer and Until Freedom Co-Founder Mysonne Linen speak to press outside of City Hall following the civil hearing for Breonna Taylor's family
They will also be encouraged to regularly volunteer for community organizations and will face increased random testing for drug use.
Fischer said the civil settlement has nothing do with the criminal investigation.
'We won't let Breonna Taylor's life be swept under the rug,' said Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor's family.
Crump said the $12 million settlement is the largest such settlement given out for a black woman killed by police.
He also called for charges against the officers and urged people to 'say her name' - a phrase that has become a refrain for those outraged by the shooting.
The news conference was broadcast over a loudspeaker in downtown Louisville and protesters listened as they sat around a memorial to Taylor.
The largest settlement previously paid in a Louisville police misconduct case was $8.5 million in 2012, to a man who spent nine years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Taylor was gunned down back in March when Louisville police burst into her apartment using a no-knock arrest warrant that did not require them to announce themselves. Pictured above is an evidence photo showing the bullet casings from outside her apartment
In the crime scene photos, a body camera can be seen on officer Anthony James' right shoulder. Another officer, Myles Cosgrove, can be seen in the photos wearing a body camera holder
The lawsuit filed by Taylor's mother alleged that police used flawed information when they obtained the no-knock warrant to enter her apartment.
Police descended on her apartment after securing a court-approved warrant as part of a drug investigation involving her ex-boyfriend that allowed officers to enter her home without any warning.
Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, had been sleeping in bed when the officers served the warrant at around 1am.
Walker fired his gun when officers stormed into the apartment and has since said he thought he was defending against a home invasion.
At the time, Walker told police that he could hear knocking on the night of the shooting but did not hear police announce themselves.
Walker said he was 'scared to death' so he grabbed his gun and when the door was knocked down, he fired a shot that ended up striking an officer in the leg.
Investigators said police were returning fire when they shot Taylor eight times.
No drugs were found at her home.
The city has already taken some reform measures, including passing a law named for Taylor that bans the use of the no-knock warrants. Police typically use them in drug cases over concern that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival.
Fischer fired former police chief Steve Conrad in June and last week named Yvette Gentry, a former deputy chief, as the new interim police chief. Gentry would be the first Black woman to lead the force of about 1,200 sworn officers.
The department has also fired Brett Hankison, one of the three officers who fired shots at Taylor's apartment that night. Hankison is appealing the dismissal.
The settlement is in response to a wrongful death lawsuit that Taylor's mother Tamika Palmer (pictured above during the March on Washington) filed against the city and its police department back in April
Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker had been sleeping in bed when the officers served the warrant at around 1am
Walker has filed a separate lawsuit against the city that has not yet been settled.
It comes just weeks after crime scene photos emerged publicly that showed a number of shell casings in and near the EMT's apartment. The photos were taken by Louisville investigators in the hours after Taylor was gunned down.
The images raised questions about previous statements made by law enforcement who have said there is no body cam footage of the raid because narcotics officers don't wear cameras.
Several photos show that at least one officer who raided the apartment was wearing a body camera at the time.
In the crime scene photos, a body camera can be seen on officer Anthony James' right shoulder. Another officer, Myles Cosgrove, can be seen in the photos wearing a body camera holder.
Immediately after the fatal shooting, police chief Steve Conrad and Mayor Greg Fischer, said no footage existed of the raid because narcotics officers were not required to wear body cameras.
'This incident was related to the execution of a search warrant by members of our Criminal Interdiction Division and some of the officers assigned to this division do not wear body-worn video systems,' Conrad, who has since been fired, said.
The Mayor has repeatedly said that the officers involved in the raid were not wearing cameras.
At least 10 bullets went into Taylor's apartment through a sliding glass door located in the living room and also through a bedroom window
Bullet holes and blood smeared on the walls could be seen in one evidence photo taken inside the apartment in the hours after Taylor was gunned down
Celebrities have joined forces with the family of Breonna Taylor in their fight for justice over her senseless killing.
Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer has teamed with LaLa Anthony, Alicia Keys, Cardi B and more to urge fans to get involved after Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT worker, was killed by police during a botched raid at her home in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13.
Tracee Ellis Ross, Ellen DeGeneres, Kerry Washington, Tamika D. Mallory, Brene Brown, Ali Wong, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lena Waithe and Gabrielle Union are just some of the stars that appear in the a PSA titled “Do You Know What Happened To Breonna Taylor.”
“Three officers from the Louisville Police Department used a battery ram to knock down her door. They fired 22 times,” Parker says in the video. “Eight of those bullets landed in the body of the most essential worker I will ever know. Bree was murdered by the Louisville Metro Police Department and after they killed her, they asked me if she had any enemies. I said, ‘No. Absolutely not.'”
The cops who shot Taylor, Officer Brett Hankison, Sgt. Jonathan Mattinglyand Officer Myles Cosgrove have not been fired.
A fourth officer, who requested and obtained the no-knock search warrant used to enter her home, was placed on administrative assignment this week.
“This is all part of the process of getting to the truth of what happened that night and leading up to that night,” Interim Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert Schroeder said during Wednesday’s press conference. “I recognize the process takes longer than we would all want, but it’s what must be done to ensure a thorough and fair investigation for everybody involved, and to ensure this community has the best trust available in this police department.”
At the end of the PSA, United Freedom’s co-founders Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour explain to viewers how to contact Louisville representatives and urge them to fire and charge the officers involved.
“Breonna Taylor’s family has said that they’re not just fighting for her, but they’re fighting to ensure that what happened to Breonna never happens again,” Mallory said.
Taylor’s family have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the LMPD.