Attorney Ben Crump, Co-counsels and Family of Breonna Taylor Issue Statement on Civil Suit Settlement, Police Reforms
Attorneys for the family of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old emergency medical technician shot and killed by Louisville police in March, confirmed that they had reached a-million dollar settlement in a civil lawsuit against the City of Louisville with early Tuesday.
The family of Breonna Taylor, nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump, and co-counsels Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker released the following statement about the settlement of the family’s civil suit against the City of Louisville:
“Nothing will ever bring back the precious life or fill the bottomless void left by the death of Breonna for her family or her community, which she served as a frontline emergency worker. But this settlement, with the accompanying police reforms, sends a powerful signal to the community that Breonna’s life and her death will have long-term impact, hopefully preventing the loss of other Black lives.
“The significance is not just the historic $12 million settlement for the police shooting of Breonna Taylor, but also the comprehensive police reform agreed to by Mayor Greg Fischer and the Louisville Metro City Council.
“In the many cases I have represented involving police brutality — from George Floyd and Jacob Blake to Pamela Turner — I have never seen the level of responsive, comprehensive systemic reform that has occurred here under the leadership of Mayor Fischer in just six months. We credit Mayor Fischer and the city council for their tremendous leadership in bringing progress and reform out of tragedy.
“This is an important step toward justice more than six months after Breonna’s death. We continue to urge Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to convene a grand jury and charge the involved officers immediately.”
Among the reforms are these:
Community Related Police Programs
1. Housing Credit Program: LMPD will establish a housing credit program to incentivize officers to live within the city of Louisville and their own patrol districts as their primary residence. LMPD will review programs established in Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, and DC as models for one in Louisville. The initiative will provide officers with a pathway to home ownership and improve community relationships.
2. Retain Social Workers: LMPD commits to retaining social workers at LMPD for officer support and assistance on dispatched runs warranting a social worker’s presence.
3. Community Volunteering: LMPD will encourage its officers to volunteer with a community organization two hours per pay period during their regular work shift.
Search Warrant Reforms
4. LMPD has amended its Standard Operating Procedure on search warrants to require a commanding officer to review and approve all search warrants, affidavits in support of search warrants, and risk matrices before an officer seeks judicial approval for a search warrant. When simultaneously executing search warrants at multiple locations, the commanding officer of the unit initiating the warrants will act as the overall Incident Commander with a separate on-scene Commanding Officer at each warrant location to serve as the Deputy Incident Commander for that location.
Police Accountability Reforms
5. Currency Seizures: LMPD has added additional protocols for money seized as evidence, including expressly stating that officers must have their body cameras activated for the entire seizure process, which includes counting, placing and sealing the currency into the currency evidence bag before it’s transported to the property room.
6. IAPro: LMPD will implement an early warning system that tracks all use of force incidents, citizen complaints, investigations, and other key factors, with a goal of identifying any police officer in need of additional assistance or training. The early warning system will be monitored through the Office of Inspector General once this office is established.
7. Drug testing: LMPD has resumed random drug testing of all officers and commits to including in 2021 negotiations with the police union that all officers are randomly tested at least once a year.
8. Personnel files: LMPD will negotiate with the union in 2021 to expand on the records it may maintain in police officers’ personnel files. Within recent history, the state record retention schedule was amended to require LMPD to retain PSU investigations for at least five years after the employee has separated from LMPD.
9. PSU Investigations: LMPD has updated its PSU investigation process regarding cases when a police officer separates from LMPD before the completion of his or her investigation. The police officer’s personnel file will include a PSU closing letter that states the Chief’s findings based on the evidence that exists in the file at the time of the separation from LMPD, if sufficient evidence exists in the record to make such a determination or that insufficient evidence exists to make a finding. If the nature of the complaint is significant enough to have reasonably resulted in the suspension of a police officer, the PSU investigation will continue gathering evidence to evaluate if additional officers or problems exist that require the PSU investigation continue.