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Louisville officials agree to pay Breonna Taylor’s family $12m

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The US city of Louisville, Kentucky, has reached a $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor in a civil suit stemming from the 26-year-old’s fatal shooting by police inside her apartment in March, the city’s mayor has said.

The agreementwould be one of the highest such payments in a police killing in years.

Greg Fischer addressed Ms Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, as he announced the settlement at a press conference on Tuesday.

“I cannot begin to imagine Ms Palmer’s pain, and I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death,” he said.

Ms Palmer pushed for charges against the officers involved in the shooting.

“As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna,” she said. “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.”

A lawsuit filed in April by Ms Palmer alleged that the police used flawed information when they obtained a “no-knock” warrant to enter Ms Taylor’s apartment late at night in March during a drug investigation.

Ms Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker were roused from bed by police, and Mr Walker has said he fired once at the officers, thinking it was an intruder. Witnesses said police did not identify themselves before entering.

Investigators say police were returning fire when they shot Ms Taylor several times. No drugs were found at her home.

“We won’t let Breonna Taylor’s life be swept under the rug,” said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for her family.

Largest settlement

Mr Crump said the $12 million agreement is the largest such settlement given out for a black woman killed by police.

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 Ms Taylor’s death, which prompted months of demonstrations in Louisville and nationally, against the backdrop of widespread Black Lives Matter protests.

One of the officers involved in the raid was fired in June and the the city banned the use of no-knock search warrants.

Brett Hankinson’s position 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.

Policing reforms

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 $8.5 million payment for wrongful imprisonment to a man who was convicted after an officer committed perjury at trial, the Louisville 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. – Guardian

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