The city of Louisville, Kentucky, will pay a historic $12 million settlement to the family of Breonna Taylor, more than six months after police shot and killed the 26-year-old Black emergency room technician in her own apartment and Taylor became a household name as part of the nationwide uprising in defense of Black lives. It is one of the largest payouts ever for a police killing of a Black person in the U.S. The city will also institute major reforms to the police department responsible for Taylor’s death. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the settlement at a press conference, where he was joined by members of Taylor’s family. We air excerpts from the remarkable press conference.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re beginning today’s report in Louisville. More than six months after police in Louisville, Kentucky, shot and killed 26-year-old Black emergency room technician Breonna Taylor in her own apartment, the city announced Tuesday it’ll pay her family a historic $12 million settlement and institute a slew of reforms to the police department responsible for her death. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the news at a press conference with Breonna Taylor’s family.
MAYOR GREG FISCHER: This settlement includes a payment to Breonna’s estate of $12 million.
AMY GOODMAN: The mayor also named a dozen changes to policing in Louisville, including more oversight from top commanders and an early-warning system to identify police officers accused of brutality. The settlement is one of the largest amounts to ever be paid for a Black woman killed by the police and comes after the summer uprising in defense of Black Lives Matter. Breonna Taylor was made a household name throughout those protests. But the officers who entered her apartment with a no-knock warrant and killed her on March 13th still have not been criminally charged, despite the demands of the family. This is Breonna Taylor’s family attorney Benjamin Crump speaking during the joint news conference with the mayor of Louisville.
BENJAMIN CRUMP: It has been so long getting to this day, where we could assure that Breonna Taylor’s life wouldn’t be swept under the rug like so many other Black women in America who have been killed by police, marginalized. So I am grateful to the actions of the city of Louisville today. And it is not just the historic $12 million settlement, which, as I understand, is the largest amount ever paid out for a Black woman in a wrongful death killed by a police in America. And, Lonita, I believe it may be the largest amount ever paid for a Black person in a police shooting. We’re still trying to verify that. And it is certainly, Tamika Mallory, one of the largest amounts ever paid out for any person in the way of settlement in a police killing in America. …
This is about setting a precedence. When my great co-counsels from Kentucky, Lonita Baker and Sam Aguiar, first talked to me about this Black woman who had been killed in her own apartment by this no-knock warrant, they were very concerned that nobody cared, nobody cared about this Black woman, nobody cared about Tamika’s baby. And that’s when I started calling everybody I know to say that Black women’s lives matter, too. … I was saying to anybody who would listen, “Breonna Taylor’s life matters.” And Senator Kamala Harris was the first national elected official to go on national television and to say her name, Breonna Taylor. …
With what has happened today, Mayor Fischer, not just with the historic amount, but, equally important, with the reform that attorney Baker and attorney O’Connell spoke of, it sets a precedence for other Black women, that their lives won’t be marginalized, that they will be valued — lives like Sandra Bland; lives like Pamela Turner in Baytown, Texas; lives like 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley in Detroit, who also was killed as a result of a dangerous no-knock warrant — because we have to speak truth to power when we get an opportunity.
And these dangerous no-knock warrants are disproportionately executed against Black people in America. And so, I’m very happy that the Metro Council also stood united with Tamika Palmer to pass Breonna’s Law to abolish these dangerous no-knock warrants, because it was foreseeable who was most being put in danger with these no-knock warrants. …
While most of America is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we in Black America are not only dealing with that pandemic, but we’re also dealing with the 1619 pandemic, the pandemic that started 401 years ago when the first enslaved Africans came to America. And from that day to this one, we have been dealing with systematic racism and oppression, that have killed us inside and outside the courtroom. …
We still are demanding that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron bring charges immediately against the police officers that murdered Breonna Taylor. Immediately. This week. Justice delayed is justice denied. The city leadership has done a significant step today, but now it is on Daniel Cameron and the attorney general of Kentucky’s office to bring charges — and at the very minimum, Lonita, second-degree manslaughter charges. …
Breonna Taylor is a light to help heal what’s happening in America, and for all those young people, those celebrities, athletes, but most importantly the people who are on the ground, the people who are the activists and protesters who are saying enough is enough. … We also need our legislative partners to help transform the protest into policy. We need Breonna’s Law not just in Louisville, not just in the state of Kentucky, but all throughout the United States of America, because her life matters.
AMY GOODMAN: Breonna Taylor’s family attorney Benjamin Crump, speaking Tuesday. Breonna’s mother, Tamika Palmer, also responded to the settlement.
TAMIKA PALMER: As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna. We must not lose focus on what the real drive is. And with that being said, it’s time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more. Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground. So please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor.
SUPPORTERS: Breonna Taylor!
AMY GOODMAN: Joining Breonna Taylor’s family, their lawyer and the mayor at Tuesday’s press conference was activist Tamika Mallory.
TAMIKA MALLORY: A settlement is restitution, but it’s not arresting the cops. And we want to say today that the police officers responsible for killing Breonna Taylor must be arrested, in order for the community to feel calm. … Breonna Taylor has shifted the atmosphere. She’s shifted it not just here in Kentucky, but across the country. The ban on no-knock warrants was where we begin in terms of great reform. …
The officers — Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove, Jon Mattingly, and Joshua Jaynes — must be arrested. We cannot forget about Joshua Jaynes, the man who lied on a no-knock warrant application that sent police officers charging into the home of Breonna Taylor and Kenny Walker. We cannot forget about any of those officers. And if this police department is to do right by this community, if you know of other officers who were involved, they should be arrested and indicted immediately.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Tamika Mallory speaking at Tuesday’s news conference for Breonna Taylor, whose family will receive $12 million in a settlement with the city of Louisville.
When we come back, we’ll get response from journalist and author Mychal Denzel Smith, and we’ll also talk about the upcoming presidential election and his new book, Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream. Stay with us.