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Family of US police shooting victim settles civil case

Breonna Taylor was killed on March 13, 2020 when three plainclothes police officers executing a "no knock" search warrant burst into her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky late at night - - / ©AFP
Breonna Taylor was killed on March 13, 2020 when three plainclothes police officers executing a "no knock" search warrant burst into her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky late at night - - / ©AFP

(AFP)

The family of Breonna Taylor, a black woman killed in a police shooting in her own home, have settled their civil case with the US city of Louisville for substantial compensation and promises of reforms, media reported Tuesday.

The family’s lawyers and the mayor’s office said they would hold a press conference later in the day to announce a major development in a case that has become emblematic of a nationwide wave of protest against police brutality and racism led by the Black Lives Matter movement.

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They will announce a deal that encompasses a “significant dollar amount” and promises of reforms for local law enforcement, lawyer Sam Aguiar, who represents Taylor’s mother, told the local television station WLKY. He declined to give further details.

The agreement signals an end to the civil proceedings but not to the criminal investigation, which has yet to lead to any charges, six months after Taylor’s death.

Taylor, 26, was killed on March 13 when three plainclothes police officers executing a “no knock” search warrant burst into her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky late at night.

Taylor’s boyfriend, who was in bed with her, grabbed a gun and exchanged fire with the officers. He later said he thought they were criminals.

The officers, who had not activated their body cameras as required, shot Taylor eight times, killing her. A police sergeant was also wounded.

The three said they had announced themselves before entering. They later filed an after-action report that was found to be rife with errors.

Taylor’s family filed a civil complaint in April seeking redress, claiming that the search warrant was in error and that the officers had fired blindly and without due diligence.

One of the three officers, Brett Hankison, has since been fired, and the other two were suspended. The city has also banned “no knock” warrants. 

But none of the officers has been charged, which has fueled daily anti-racism protests in Louisville for weeks.

Armed militia members, claiming to want to prevent acts of vandalism, have also been present, notably on the sidelines of a famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby on September 5.

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