For the Taylor family, March 13th, 2020, will go down the memory lane as the day they lost a family member to a “no-knock warrant” executed by the city police of Louisville, Kentucky. The deceased was 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, an aspiring nurse who was helping save lives when the coronavirus pandemic hit the world.
According to a Huffington Post report, her family filed a lawsuit on April 27th in which they accused Louisville police of executing “a search warrant at Breonna’s home, looking for a man in relation to a narcotics investigation.” The man in question was Breonna’s former boyfriend, who lived more than ten miles away from her apartment and “had already been detained when officers came to Taylor’s apartment after midnight.” In the lawsuit, the bereaved parents accused the officers in charge of “wrongful death, excessive force, and gross negligence.”
Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mother, and their family attorney Sam Aguiar appealed to the city’s judicial departments. They filed a wrongful death suit against the city earlier this year. According to a report by The Root, “The city of Louisville and Taylor’s family have agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement that includes a reform component.”
Although the family had to wait it out, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced that the city agreed to pay Taylor’s family $12 million, which according to sources, “will be the largest sum paid out by the city of Louisville in a police misconduct case.” According to Sam Aguiar, “The family is pleased that the city was willing to collaborate on meaningful reform (and) now, we’re counting on the AG and DOJ to do the right thing and hold all responsible officers accountable.”
While the settlement offers monetary relief, its greater impact will be felt in the changes it proposes to bring about in the rising cases involving unchecked police aggression and brutality. In the press conference held to announce the settlement, Mayor Greg Fischer waved in a wind of change by including key police reforms like “establishing a housing credit program for officers to live in certain low-income areas. It also requires that the Louisville police department hire social workers to work with officers in handling social service issues like mental health, homelessness, and addiction.” With a sense of delayed urgency, the mayor also promised to create multiple policies to make police officers more accountable and transparent in their conduct. According to Time, “The city has already taken some reform measures, including passing a law named for Taylor that bans the use of the no-knock warrants.”
The announcement came in the wake of Breonna’s 6-month death anniversary and was a moving time for the Taylor family. During the press conference, Tamika, Breonna’s mother, encouraged those who rallied for the settlement and the decision-makers to “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.”