Sunday marked six months since Taylor’s death at the hands of police on 13 March, prompting months of demonstrations in Louisville and nationally, against the backdrop of widespread Black Lives Matter protests
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The city of Louisville, Kentucky, has reached a $12m settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor in a civil suit stemming from the fatal shooting by police of the 26-year-old inside her apartment in March, according to reports.
City officials have agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12m, according to the New York Times, which would be one of the highest such payments in a police killing in years.
Separately, a grand jury could soon be asked to weigh charges in a potential criminal case against three officers involved in the shooting. Local prosecutors have come in for heavy criticism for the long delay.
Sunday marked six months since Taylor’s death at the hands of police on 13 March, prompting months of demonstrations in Louisville and nationally, against the backdrop of widespread Black Lives Matter protests.
Taylor, a Black medical worker, was killed in a post-midnight police raid of her apartment, where she was with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Witnesses said police did not identify themselves before entering, and Walker fired on them.
One of the officers involved in the raid, which was connected to a drug investigation, was fired in June. That month, the city banned the use of no-knock search warrants.
Brett Hankinson was terminated for “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 rounds into the apartment, according to his termination letter. Police said none of the three officers who took part in the raid were wearing body cameras.
In addition to a monetary settlement, the agreement between the city and the Taylor family includes multiple policing reforms, according to reports, including a requirement that commanders approve all search warrants before they go to a judge.
The largest previous settlement by Louisville in connection with police misconduct was an $8.5m payment for wrongful imprisonment to a man who was convicted after an officer committed perjury at trial, the Courier Journal said.
Attorney Sam Aguilar confirmed that a settlement had been reached, telling CNN: “The city’s response in this case has been delayed and it’s been frustrating, but the fact that they’ve been willing to sit down and talk significant reform was a step in the right direction and hopefully a turning point.”
Kentucky’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, who was appointed special prosecutor on the case earlier this year, is expected to announce a charging decision soon. The FBI has also opened an investigation.
But Cameron has declined to specify a date, tweeting last week: “My office is continually asked about a timeline regarding the investigation into the death of Ms Breonna Taylor. An investigation, if done properly, cannot follow a specific timeline.”
Louisville’s police chief, Steve Conrad, was fired after a separate incident in June, when officers who killed restaurant owner David McAtee did not activate body cameras.
A judge ruled that a former South Carolina restaurant manager who forced a Black man with intellectual disabilities to work more than 100 hours a week without pay, owes the former employee more than $500,000. According to The Post and Courier, Bobby Paul Edwards, 56, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for forcing John Christopher Smith, 43, to work at J&J Cafeteria without pay.
A judge on Wednesday denied requests to release body-camera video in the case of a Black man who was shot to death by North Carolina deputies as they tried to arrest him on drug-related warrants. Judge Jeffery Foster said he believed the videos contained information that could harm the investigation or threaten the safety of people seen in the footage. He said the video must remain out of public view for at least 30 days.
The jury’s guilty verdict on the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd signaled the conclusion of a historic police brutality trial and a key moment for policing and for the battle for racial equality in America. Observers have talked about this case being so significant that it will stand as a watershed between the way law enforcement was held to account in the US before George Floyd was pinned by the neck under Chauvin’s knee, and after.
A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website has revealed that serving police officers and public officials have donated money to fundraisers for accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists, and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans. In many of these cases, the donations were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns.