More than six months after Breonna Taylor’s death at the hands of police officers who stormed her house in the middle of the night, the city of Louisville has settled a wrongful death lawsuit, filed by Taylor’s family, for $12 million.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed on the night of March 13th, after Louisville Metro Police officers broke down the door of her home and fatally shot her while she was asleep in bed. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit afterward, claiming that the officers “did not knock or identify themselves prior to entering Breonna’s home.”
The family’s attorney, Sam Aguilar, confirmed the settlement to CNN, saying that the city’s slow response to the case has been “frustrating,” but that the fact that they have finally talked about significant reform is “a step in the right direction and hopefully a turning point.”
But of course, the main thing that Taylor’s family wants is justice, and no amount of money will suffice when all of the officers involved in her death — Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officers Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove — haven’t been charged with a crime. In fact, Mattingly and Cosgrove are still working members of the police department (Hankinson was fired in late June for “wantonly and blindly” firing 10 rounds into Taylor’s apartment).
Taylor’s death, along with Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd’s murders, reignited the Black Lives Matter movement, resulting in the biggest civil rights movement in history. This month, a portrait of Taylor is on the cover of Vanity Fair, accompanied by a retelling of her life by her mother, Tamika Palmer. In the piece, Palmer writes that she was worried people would forget about her daughter’s death when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and that everything would “get swept under the rug,” but that the ensuing protests and the global support for the movement has blown her away.
There’s just one thing she needs: arrests.
Speaking following the settlement, Palmer said, “As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna. We must not lose focus on what the real drive is and with that being said, it’s time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more.”
No amount of money will bring back Breonna Taylor. We need accountability. We need justice. We need arrests.