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story.lead_photo.caption Tamika Palmer, mother of Breonna Taylor, center, speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 in Louisville, Ky. Beside Palmer is attorney Ben Crump at left and attorney Lonita Baker at right. Palmer briefly spoke at Metro Hall Tuesday afternoon during a press conference to announce a $12 million settlement to Breonna Taylor's estate. Taylor was shot by Louisville police in March during a botched execution of a search warrant. (Matt Stone/Courier Journal via AP)

 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The city of Louisville agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor and reform police practices as part of a settlement announced Tuesday, months after Taylor's slaying by police thrust the Black woman's name to the forefront of a national reckoning on race.

But Taylor's mother and others who have taken up her cause said more must be done to right the wrongs of racial injustice in America.

"Please continue to say her name," Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, declared at an emotional news conference, evoking the call that has become a national refrain for those outraged by the shooting and police violence.

Taylor's death sparked months of protests in Louisville and calls nationwide for the officers to be criminally charged. The state's attorney general, Daniel Cameron, is investigating police actions in the March 13 fatal shooting.

"I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer's pain, and I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna's death," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer in announcing the terms of the lawsuit settlement.

Standing nearby as the mayor spoke, Palmer said the police reforms were not enough.

"We must not lose focus on what the real job is, and with that being said, it's time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more," Palmer said. "As significant as today is, it's only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna."

The lawsuit, filed by Palmer in April, accused police of using flawed information when they obtained a "no-knock" warrant to enter the 26-year-old woman's apartment. Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were roused from bed by police, and Walker said he fired once at the officers, thinking they were intruders. Investigators say police were returning fire when they shot Taylor several times. No drugs were found at her home.

Dissatisfaction with the settlement extended to "Injustice Square" in downtown Louisville, where demonstrators have gathered daily for 113 days, demanding justice for Taylor. Some who listened to the announcement over a loudspeaker near a memorial for Taylor said the price for a life seemed low, the promised reforms too little and too late.

"It's just not enough," said Holly McGlawn, who noted how much Taylor might have made had she lived. She was young, she could have worked for another 40 or 50 years, she said.

"You can't put a price on a Black woman being able to sleep at night and know she's not going to get murdered," McGlawn said.

"Justice delayed is justice denied. There was a better way to handle this," agreed Shameka Parrish-Wright who has been part of the daily demonstrations where the city often faced peaceful protesters with force. "I'm hearing apologies now that should have happened early on."

Palmer left the news conference with one of her attorneys, Ben Crump, and met with protesters at the nearby park. She surveyed the original art of her daughter, prayed and wiped away tears.

She had just two words to say: "Pressure applied," a saying her daughter often used as an emergency medical tech.

Crump said the $12 million payout is the largest such settlement given out for a Black woman killed by police.

The settlement, "sets a precedent for Black people," he said. "When (police) kill us we expect full justice. We expect justice for the civil rights that you took from this human being. And then we expect full justice from the criminal justice system."

In the time since Taylor's shooting, her death — along with George Floyd and others — has become a rallying cry for protesters seeking a reckoning on racial justice and police reform. High-profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and LeBron James have called for the officers to be charged in Taylor's death.

The largest settlement previously paid in a Louisville police misconduct case was $8.5 million in 2012, to a man who spent nine years
in prison for a crime he did not commit, according to news reports.

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