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$12m settlement for a black life in Louisville

The late Breonna Taylor

Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s announcement comes more than six months after Taylor, a 26-year-old Black and aspiring nurse who was suppose to celebrate her 27th birthday on June 27th, was shot to death by Louisville police officers in her home. The officers broke down the door to her apartment while executing a late-night, “no-knock” warrant in a narcotics investigation on March 13.

Louisville has prepared for the possibility of unrest from the decision. For months, protesters have criticized the length of the investigation and demanded the arrests of the six officers involved.

Anticipating new protests, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Louisville Interim Police Chief Robert Schroeder Wednesday afternoon announced a 72-hour countywide curfew starting 9 p.m. Government buildings will be closed.

The city and the police department had already declared states of emergency and set up barricades restricting vehicle access to downtown areas. Stores and restaurants have boarded up their windows, and some federal buildings closed for the week. Protesters started gathering Wednesday morning, hours before the expected announcement.

Taylor’s death set off outrage across the country, chants of “say her name,” calls to arrest the officers, and a renewed focus on the Black women killed by police. Her story gained wider attention during nationwide demonstrations that followed the late May killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Cameron, the first Black person to hold the post and a Republican rising star, was made a special prosecutor in the case in May, and the FBI opened an investigation as well.

The city of Louisville announced on Sept. 15 a historic $12 million settlement of the family’s wrongful death lawsuit. The city also agreed to enact police reforms which include using social workers to provide support on certain police runs and requiring commanders to review and approve search warrants before seeking judicial approval.

Police believed Taylor was home alone when she was in fact accompanied by her boyfriend, who was legally armed, according to a CNN review of the shooting. That miscalculation, along with the decision to press forward with a high-risk, forced-entry raid under questionable circumstances, contributed to the deadly outcome.

Taylor’s ex-boyfriend was the actual focus of a narcotics investigation that led officers to execute the warrant on her apartment, where no drugs were found.

Police said a man was shipping drugs to Taylor’s apartment to avoid detection of a trafficking ring, according to a police affidavit for a search warrant, which was obtained by CNN.

The search warrant authorized police to search Taylor’s apartment, two vehicles, and three people, including Taylor, and to seize, among other things, drugs and drug paraphernalia, money, safes, weapons, documents and computers. The warrant did not specifically connect Taylor to any alleged drug activity, and Taylor’s family and their attorney have maintained that she was not involved in her ex-boyfriend’s alleged drug trade.

Taylor was sleeping next to her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker III, in the early hours of March 13, and when they heard a noise they both got up and walked to the door.

“She’s yelling at the top of her lungs — and I am too at this point — ‘who is it?’ ” recalled Walker, her boyfriend. “No answer. No response. No anything.”

Walker told investigators when he heard banging at the door his first thought was that it was Taylor’s ex-boyfriend. He was concerned there might be trouble, so he grabbed his gun.

As Walker and Taylor made their way down a hallway toward the front door, Walker said, the door flew off its hinges.

“So I just let off one shot,” he said. “I still can’t see who it is or anything.”

After the officers used a battering ram to enter, Mattingly was shot in the leg, severing his femoral artery, he told investigators.

He and two other officers — Hankison and Det. Myles Cosgrove — then discharged their weapons, according to the CNN review. Taylor was killed in the barrage of shots from the three officers. Walker, who was unharmed, dialed 911 and told the dispatcher someone had kicked in the door and shot his girlfriend.

Mattingly’s attorney, Todd McMurtry, defended his client’s conduct.

Walker was arrested and, six days later, indicted for the attempted murder of a police officer. The Louisville area’s top local prosecutor later agreed to have the indictment against Walker dismissed.

The chaotic police operation that night was exacerbated by Hankison, who was accused by his own department of “blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment from an outdoor patio. Hankison has since been fired and is appealing his termination. His attorney, David Leightty, has declined comment.

culled:cnn