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Activist Tamika Mallory spoke at the press conference where city officials and Breonna Taylor’s attorneys detailed the $12 million settlement.

Louisville Courier Journal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Critics of the Louisville Metro Government’s record payout to Breonna Taylor’s family say the settlement was premature and that the mayor betrayed the city’s police by standing idly by as a protest leader accused officers of murder during a press conference Tuesday.

Ryan Nichols, president of Louisville’s River City Fraternal Order of Police, said many officers – especially the rank and file – have felt unsupported by Mayor Greg Fischer and his lack of leadership since protests started May 28.

But now, after Tuesday’s press conference, Nichols fears that the “boots on the ground” officers think Fischer shares the same feelings about them as the activists.

“He should be commending the officers for continuing to come into work day in and day out in these conditions,” Nichols said. “Perhaps he’s testing their resolve. Maybe he doesn’t want them to show up for work.”

The $12 million settlement for the estate of Breonna Taylor is one of the largest ever paid in the United States in a case of police excessive force and by far the biggest paid out in Louisville for alleged police misconduct.

Fact check:  Debunking 8 widely shared rumors in the Breonna Taylor police shooting

Charges? Grand jury could provide ‘Justice for Breonna’ – or exonerate the officers who shot her

Self sufficiency Council president takes issue with activist’s remarks

At Tuesday’s press conference, where Fischer announced the $12 million settlement and police reforms, Until Freedom activist Tamika Mallory spoke at the podium, saying the community won’t feel calm until the cops responsible for Taylor’s death are arrested.

“It is important our community understands what happened here today is very significant,” Mallory said. “… There is an acknowledgment of Breonna Taylor’s life and the fact that those officers in this city murdered her.”

She also called the department corrupt.

Metro Council President David James, a former Louisville police officer, said those comments were premature before an investigation is completed into Taylor’s death.

“I don’t know if I’d be tossing the word murderer around,” James said. “All we know is that she was killed. We have no indication if it as done intentionally, recklessly, wantonly or accidentally.”

Taylor, 26, was shot by Louisville police officers five times during the execution of a no-knock warrant on March 13.

Her death, along with George Floyd’s, has sparked a local and nationwide cry for racial justice, prompting more than 100 consecutive days of civil unrest and protest in Louisville.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron appointed himself special prosecutor to look into whether criminal charges should be filed against the officers in the case. No timeline has been released for that decision.

The FBI also is conducting a separate investigation in her shooting.

More: Following Louisville settlement, all eyes on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron

Self sufficiency Mallory: ‘Arresting officers is what will do right by this city’

Mallory said the three officers who fired their weapons at Taylor’s apartment the night police killed her — Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, as well as Joshua Jaynes, who requested the no-knock warrant — should be charged.

“Restitution is one part, but arresting officers is what will do right by this city,” she said.

Mallory told the community at the mayor’s podium not to lose sight of the “main focus,” which is the indictment of the officers.

“I have to say to you, Mayor Fischer, we want to thank you for your leadership,” Mallory said. “But for any reason, if these officers are not indicted, you must instruct your police department to fire every single one of them on the spot. That is called getting justice for Breonna Taylor.”

Nichols, the police union president, said it was disrespectful for the mayor — who employs the officers — to offer a platform to a group to make inflammatory statements about officers. It’s especially egregious because the mayor is directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the police department, he said.

100 days of protests: Looking back at moments that have shaped the Breonna Taylor movement

In a tweet Tuesday, city councilman Anthony Piagentini said he watched Taylor family lawyers call for criminal charges against LMPD officers while they “stand next to and thank the LMPD boss, Mayor Fischer. Everyone wants to hang the officers out to dry, but their boss gets thanked on stage. Incredible.”

“(Fischer) needs to be held accountable,” Piagentini said. “Ultimately, it’s his department.” 

Piagentini, a former police officer, also said the decision to settle was made prematurely. But moreso, he said he was shocked that anyone aside from the mayor, Taylor’s family and their attorneys would be allowed to make comments at the press conference.

Mallory and Keturah Herron from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky were invited by Taylor’s family and counsel, according to Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Fischer’s office. “We thought it was appropriate for them to be there since the settlement included some of the reforms that they and others they represent have been calling for and pushing for in our streets for over 100 days,” she said.

Piagentini said he doesn’t begrudge the settlement, Taylor’s estate or her family. A settlement was coming, some just thought it was too soon.

“We need to finish the investigation,” Piagentini said. “And if officers did indeed do something illegal or did something wrong in the eyes of the law, they are not above the law. But they must go through the process — a trial.”

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A spokesperson for Fischer declined to respond to how the speakers were chosen for the settlement announcement.

Self sufficiency How is the Breonna Taylor settlement being funded?

The Louisville Metro Government is pulling from three sources, according to Daniel Frockt, the city’s chief financial officer.

The breakdown of how the city plans to pay for the $12 million settlement is:

  • $5 million from the risk management fund
  • $2 million from Louisville Area Governmental Self-Insurance Trust (LAGIT)
  • $5 million from LAGIT’s excess carrier, Safety National

Taxpayer dollars are going toward this settlement, but just how much of the bill taxpayers are footing is unclear.

The risk management fund pays for a variety of risks incurred by the Louisville Metro Government, including injuries to employees, natural disasters and loss related to lawsuits. 

Essentially, it is a fund designated to cover the city during unexpected situations. When the Louisville Metro Government is sued and settles with plaintiffs, as it did in the Taylor case, part of the settlement money usually comes from the risk management fund, Frockt said.

The Louisville Area Governmental Self-Insurance Trust, or LAGIT, was created in 1987 as another mechanism to provide budgetary stability and risk protection for the city and its agencies.

As of June 30, 2019, LAGIT had close to $18.7 million in total asserts, according to an independent audit of the trust fund. Frockt said the trust fund is also insured by an excess carrier, Safety National.

Contributing: Ben Tobin, @TobinBen, Louisville Courier Journal. Follow reporter Kala Kachmar on Twitter: @NewsQuip

More on the Breonna Taylor case:

Louisville anxiously awaits Breonna Taylor decision – and whether justice or chaos reigns

 A 180-plus-day timeline shows how her death changed Louisville

Lawyer for Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend sues police, says he didn’t shoot officer

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/09/17/louisville-settled-too-soon-mayor-betrayed-police-breonna-taylor-case/3482161001/

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