LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After the City of Louisville announced a multi-million dollar settlement was reached with Breonna Taylor’s family Tuesday, many people were left asking two major questions: Where is that money coming from, and how could the reach a settlement without finishing criminal proceedings against the three officers involved in Taylor’s death first?
“We’ve been thinking about this and working on this for quite some time now,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.
Fischer said the grand jury proceedings had no impact on the timing of the settlement and that both cases are on different tracks.
“Typically, the criminal cases would be resolved first, and then those would sort of guide the civil case,” WAVE 3 News legal expert Leland Hulbert explained.
Hulbert said if officers were charged and found guilty, the Taylor family would have more leverage in civil negotiations. If they were not charged or acquitted, then the city would have more leverage.
So, why settle now? Does this mean the city is admitting guilt?
“Both parties felt it was best to do this now so we could of course talk about the reform aspects as well as the financial settlement,” Fischer said during Tuesday’s announcement.
Civil cases can be settled at any time, even before a suit is filed, and regardless of what happens in a criminal investigation.
“I think it does show that they believe there was some fault. Now, whether they think there was a criminal fault is judged by different standards,” Hulbert said. “They’re not really admitting guilt, but it seems like they are admitting fault.”
Hulbert said he believes this because of how big the settlement actually is, requiring sweeping police reform. It includes changes to how warrants are obtained and executed, increased accountability, as well as dispatching social workers on some runs, and ways to keep officers committed to the communities they serve.
The settlement also pays the Taylor family $12 million. The city will pay for the first $500,000, and there is insurance that pays up to $5 million per occurrence every year. Another $2 million comes from a self-insured retention trust, and $4.5 million will come from Louisville Metro’s general fund.
Hulbert said while the investigation and civil suit may overlap, what is presented to the grand jury and what they decide shouldn’t be affected by the settlement.
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