The Mayor of Louisville announces reforms. The African American Breonna Taylor was shot dead during a police operation.
LOUISVILLE dpa | Six months after the police killing of Afro-American Breonna Taylor in a police operation, the city of Louisville has settled a civil lawsuit with a high severance payment and a promise of police reform. Taylor’s family will receive 12 million US dollars (10 million euros), Mayor Greg Fischer told journalists on Tuesday, September 15.
The criminal proceedings with the decision on a possible charge against the police officers responsible for Taylor’s death are still pending, said Fischer. “The truth has to come out,” he demanded. This is “just the beginning to get justice for Breonna,” emphasized her mother Tamika Palmer.
Due to a search warrant on March 13, the police broke into the door of the 26-year-old paramedic’s apartment, apparently without warning. Then there was an exchange of fire between Taylor’s partner and the police. Taylor was hit by eight bullets, according to media reports.
As part of the deal with Taylor’s family, the Kentucky mayor announced mandatory police reforms. In the future, among other things, every use of force by police officers is to be closely followed and, if necessary, examined by a newly created control authority.
Police reforms against structural racism
In addition, with the help of a new program, police officers should also be able to be accompanied by social workers during operations. Fischer also promised stricter controls on search orders and more transparency in police operations. Good police officers value greater openness, explained Fischer.
A family lawyer, Lonita Baker, said it was always about more than just compensation. The police reforms are a starting point to combat structural racism in the city. Another lawyer, Ben Crump, said the family payment was the largest ever settlement payment in the United States for a police-induced black death.
Crump demanded that the officers responsible should be arrested and charged “immediately”. The lawyer also represents the family of the African American George Floyd, who was killed by police officers in the state of Minnesota in late May.
The brutal and videotaped killing of Floyd had sparked nationwide protests against racism and police violence. It was only the indignation after Floyd’s death that made Taylor’s case known nationwide. Since then, many politicians and celebrities, including pop superstar Beyoncé and presenter Oprah Winfrey, have been calling for charges in Breonna Taylor’s case.