$12 Million Settlement for Breonna Taylor’s Family

In an aerial view from a drone, a large-scale ground mural depicting Breonna Taylor with the text 'Black Lives Matter' is seen being painted at Chambers Park on July 5, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. The mural was organized by Future History Now in partnership with Banneker-Douglass Museum and The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture. The painting honors Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by members of the Louisville Metro Police Department in March 2020.

Getty In an aerial view from a drone, a large-scale ground mural depicting Breonna Taylor with the text 'Black Lives Matter' is seen being painted at Chambers Park on July 5, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. The mural was organized by Future History Now in partnership with Banneker-Douglass Museum and The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture. The painting honors Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by members of the Louisville Metro Police Department in March 2020.

Breonna Taylor should still be alive, but the 26-year-old EMT was killed in her own home by Louisville Metro Police who botched a no-knock drug raid, going to the wrong apartment on March 13 this year.

Breonna Taylor should still be alive, but instead, her family and her boyfriend have been grieving for six months, and a nation has been waiting to see if the police officers responsible for her death will be held accountable.

Breonna Taylor should still be alive, but for her life attorneys negotiated a $12 million settlement for her family, along with several police reforms admitting “police misconduct.”

Breonna Taylor should still be alive, but instead, Attorney Ben Crump said in a press conference Tuesday announcing the settlement and the planned police reforms, she “is a light to help heal what’s happening in America.”

Crump said, “Regardless of this landmark step on the journey to justice, we still are demanding that Kentucky Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, bring charges immediately against the police officers that murdered Breonna Taylor.”

Meanwhile, The Federal Bureau of Investigations and Kentucky state authorities continue to investigate the shooting to figure out if the officers involved meet the threshold for being charged in her death.

One of the officers involved in the shooting, Brett Hankinson, was fired for violating Louisville Municipal Police Department’s deadly force protocol, but that violation has yet to be deemed illegal.


When Police Wrongfully Kill Cities Pays Up, But Usually That Money Comes From Taxpayers

Prison Legal News wrote, “From big cities to small towns, American taxpayers are footing the bill for police gone rogue. When an officer or department is sued for police brutality or an in-custody death, the municipality is the one to pay up. And it’s costing taxpayers millions.”

The more police are sued for misconduct, for wrongfully harming people while in their capacity as an officer, the more taxpayer money is moved around to cover the cost and is taken away from other parts of the budget, like schools, infrastructure, or community centers.

In June ABC News reported that in the fiscal year 2019 more than $300 million was paid out in police misconduct lawsuits, and said it’s American taxpayers that foot the bill according to Sanford Rubenstein, a New York City-based civil attorney who for more than 35 years has represented victims of police brutality and their families.

Jennvine Wong, staff attorney with The Legal Aid Society’s Cop Accountability Project, Special Litigation Unit told ABC, “In New York City at least, it’s not like the police’s budget. Budgets for settlements from lawsuits … comes from the city, and that’s taxpayer money.”

The Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE) found the same thing in their 2018 report examining what they call “Police Brutality Bonds” in which they say that with rising police misconduct cases and lawsuits, some cities and counties are made to go into dept to cover the costs, while the officers who commit the act are protected by the agency they work for, not losing any money, but possibly losing their jobs. ACRE explains:

Often this debt is in the form of bond borrowing. When cities or counties issue bonds to pay these costs, banks and other firms collect fees for the services they provide, and investors collect interest. The use of bonds to pay for settlements and judgments greatly increases the burden of policing costs on taxpayers, while producing a profit for banks and investors. Using bonds to pay for settlements or judgments can nearly double the costs of the original settlement. All of this is paid for by taxpayers.


Officers who Cause the Deaths of Others While on the Job Are Protected from Lawsuits by Qualified Immunity

Louisville policeOfficers Mattingly (top left), Hankison (right) and Cosgrove (bottom left) were all involved in the botched raid that ended in Breonna Taylor being shot to death in her apartment.

Police Officers fall under the protection of something called qualified immunity, which means that they are protected from being individually sued for their role in a wrongful act in the line of duty unless they break federal law.

“Immunity breeds impunity for these police,” Crump said in June before the House Judiciary Committee ABC News reported. “If they have this qualified immunity, we see no accountability,” Crump said.

According to Louisville Chief Finanical Officer Daniel Frockt, the payment to Taylor’s estate will come from three sources: Two different self-insurance funds the city carries will cover $7 million, he said in a press conference Tuesday, and the other $5 million will come from “local Metro,” or the Louisville Metro Government.

The Louisville budget for July 2020 to June 2021 includes $613 million in General Funds and $1 billion overall.

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