September 28, 2020

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Breonna Taylor’s family ‘agree financial settlement’ over death

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The family of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, have agreed on a multimillion-dollar settlement with the city, US media report.

Ms Taylor, 26, was shot eight times when officers entered her home on 13 March during a drugs investigation.

Her name has featured prominently in anti-racism protests around the world in recent months.

The settlement will reportedly be announced later on Tuesday.

It includes a “substantial” payment and will also mandate a series of police reforms in the city, the local Courier Journal newspaper reports.

These are believed to include a requirement that all search warrants are approved by a senior officer, the newspaper says.

The settlement is reported to be one of the largest financial sums paid in a police misconduct case.

Ms Taylor’s killing was propelled into the spotlight once again with the death of unarmed African-American man George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May.

The death of Mr Floyd sparked global anti-racism protests and brought renewed focus on police brutality.

What happened to Breonna Taylor?

Shortly after midnight on 13 March, three officers entered Ms Taylor’s apartment by executing a no-knock search warrant – a court document that authorises police to enter a home without warning.

Ms Taylor and her partner, Kenneth Walker, were reportedly asleep as the commotion began.

The officers exchanged fire with Mr Walker, a licensed gun owner who called 911 in the belief that the drug raid was a burglary. The officers – who fired more than 25 bullets – said they returned fire after one officer was shot and wounded.

During the exchange, Ms Taylor, an emergency medical technician, was shot eight times and later died.

No drugs were found in the property.

The lawsuit filed by Ms Taylor’s family accuses the officers of battery, wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence.

It also says the officers were not looking for her or her partner, but for an unrelated suspect who did not live in the complex.

One of the officers involved in the raid, Brett Hankison, was fired in June. The other two Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove were placed on administrative leave.

A grand jury could soon decide whether criminal charges should be filed against any of the officers, local media report.

Earlier this year, Louisville’s city council voted unanimously in favour of banning no-knock warrants.

Similar legislation that would ban the warrants nationwide was introduced in the US Congress.

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