Along with a $12 million settlement, the City of Louisville announced new police reforms this week in the aftermath of the police killing of Breonna Taylor. Speaking with NPR on Friday morning (Sept. 18), Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer said if these reforms had been in place earlier, her daughter might still be alive.
“Had we had those practices in play already, a lot of things could have been avoided that happened with Breonna,” Palmer said.
Though she is glad that her wrongful death lawsuit has been resolved, Palmer is still fighting for criminal charges to be brought against the three officers involved in Taylor’s killing — a decision that’s expected to be announced in the coming days.
“It is important for people to understand that the settlement of the civil case involving the officers is completely different from that of the criminal case,” one of Taylor’s family’s attorneys Lonita Baker said. “So, settling the civil suit has absolutely nothing to do with the criminal case.”
“I’m hoping to hear that there will be charges,” Palmer added. “That these people will be fired and arrested.”
Some of the new police reforms introduced this week, which the Louisville mayor described as “significant,” include a housing credit program that will incentivize officers to live in the communities they police. Additionally, only high-ranking commanding officers will now be allowed to approve requests for search warrants. The Louisville Metro Police Department also plans to hire social workers to support officers in their dealings with civilians.
Last month, Palmer and her attorneys met with Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Ben Crump — one of Palmer’s legal representatives — said after the meeting that he expects charges will be brought against officers Jonathan Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison. Since Taylor’s death, Mattingly and Cosgrove have been reassigned to administrative duties and Hankison has been fired.
In a statement last week, Cameron explained that the investigation into the deadly March raid is ongoing. He obtained the FBI ballistics report at the end of last month, which he added was a “critical piece” of the case.
“It’s not the end-all-be-all. There are still some witness testimony and interviews that have to be conducted. But we do have that ballistics report,” he said at the time.
When asked by NPR what she will do if the officers aren’t charged, Palmer replied, “I won’t go away. I’ll still fight.”
“Breonna was a beautiful person inside and out,” she added. “Even in the very beginning of this year, she kept saying 2020 was her year — and she was absolutely right. I hate that it came in that form, but it definitely is her year.”