Sep 15, 2020
Breonna Taylor Settlement Update Press Conference Transcript September 15
The Mayor of Louisville and the family attorneys for Breonna Taylor held a press conference on September 15 to provide updates on the settlement reached between the city of Louisville and Taylor’s family. Louisville will pay the family $12 million. Read the transcript of the briefing with all of the updates for the case here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (00:00)
Jean Porter: (00:25)
Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s afternoon briefing. Today is Tuesday, September 15th. My name is Jean Porter. I’m director of communications for Mayor Fischer. I’d like to remind everyone in the room and if you are on our WebEx to please mute your phones. If you’re on the WebEx, please keep your camera off. I apologize to media who were unable to access the room due to COVID restrictions. But today’s briefing is being shared on WebEx. We will take questions in the room from reporters and we will take some from the WebEx chat as well. And we’ll get started here in just a couple minutes. Thanks, everybody.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (01:23)
Good afternoon, everybody. I’m Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky. Thank you for joining us here today. On March 13th, 186 days ago, a tragedy beset our community with the death of 26 year old Breonna Taylor. Her death has ignited a movement in Louisville and the nation for racial justice, sending thousands into our streets and cities all across the country and the world all crying out for justice for Breonna. And while her death was a tragedy for so many, let’s remember that Breonna was first a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a girlfriend, a friend, and a coworker. And for those who knew her Breonna’s death is personal, the pain is visceral and the loss evermore devastating. Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mom, says Breonna was a quick student, a hard worker and an old soul. She was the glue of the family. Breonna was loved. I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer’s pain and I’m deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (02:36)
While we await a decision from Attorney General Daniel Cameron on whether or not charges will be filed in this case, my administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again. That’s why I’m here today with the family of Breonna Taylor, to announce that Louisville Metro Government has settled the civil lawsuit with her estate. As part of this settlement, Louisville Metro Government agrees to make several important policy changes. First, to build stronger community connections between our police officers and the people they serve. We will one, establish a housing credit program to incentivize officers to live in certain low income census tracks within the city. And we will encourage officers to volunteer two paid hours every two week pay period during their regular work shift in an organization in the community that they serve.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (03:35)
Next, as I’ve said before, we often ask our police officers to not only keep the peace, but to deal with challenges that society has failed to address, from mental health to homelessness to substance abuse and everything in between. That’s not fair to our officers and it’s not the right way to address these challenges. That’s why we will create a program to include social workers at LMPD so they can provide support and assistance on certain police runs where their presence could be helpful. Metro Council has already initiated funds in this activity. And finally, we must have transparency and accountability for the work that our officers do. Good officers appreciate sunlight on their work. And we will take several steps to shine that light, including the following; we will now require a commanding officer to review and approve all search warrants, affidavits in support of search warrants and risk matrices before an officer seeks judicial approval for the warrant.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (04:43)
We’re creating a clearer command structure when executing warrants at multiple locations. We’re adding additional protocols for money seized as evidence, expanding the random drug testing of officers, and we will negotiate with the FOP in 2021 to expand on the records that can be maintained in an officer’s personnel files. We have updated the process when a police officer is being investigated by our Professional Standards Unit and leaves LMPD before the completion of that investigation. Going forward, the chief’s closing letter will state his or her findings based on the evidence that exists in the file at the time of the officer’s separation from LMPD, if sufficient evidence exists in the record to make such a determination or will state that insufficient evidence exists to make a finding. If the nature of the complaint is significant enough to have reasonably resulted in the suspension of the officer, the investigation will continue gathering evidence to evaluate if additional officers were involved or other problems exist.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (05:54)
And finally, in order to ensure monitoring of any officers who may need additional training or other support, we will implement an early warning system that tracks all use of force incidents, citizen complaints, investigations, and other key factors. As part of its ongoing top to bottom review of LMPD, Hillard Heintze will evaluate the early warning system and recommend any needed improvements. The system will also be monitored through the soon to be formed Office of Inspector General. These are significant policy changes on top of many others that we’ve already made, including those that are part of Breonna’s Law, as well as changes to policies on use of force and if tear gas would ever need to be used. In addition to these policy changes, this settlement includes a payment to Breonna’s estate of $12 million. I’m grateful for the hard work of my team and that of county attorney Mike O’Connell and his team, and the cooperation and thoughtfulness with which the Taylor family and her attorneys work with us to get to this point. We’re now going to hear from Lonita Baker, an attorney for Breonna’s estate. Ms. Baker.
Lonita Baker: (07:21)
Justice for Breonna is multilayered. What we were able to accomplish today through the civil settlement against the officers is tremendous, but it’s only a portion of a single layer. When officers cause the death of an individual it is imperative that we seek justice, not only in the criminal system, but also in our civil system. That’s when we hold people financially responsible. But it’s important to know here that a financial settlement was non-negotiable without significant police reform. And that’s what we were able to do today. We sought forth as we went through negotiating the terms of the settlement and the reform to engage police officers within the community, not just when they’re dispatched to runs, but to get out, to volunteer in those communities in which they serve. To get to know their communities in other settings. To live within their communities. To dispatch social workers when they’re needed for mental health crises. To recognize at risk behavior by officers implementing the early warning system and to overhaul the system by which we execute search warrants that caused the death of Breonna Taylor on March 13th.
Lonita Baker: (08:39)
It’s important for her family that they minimize the risk of what happened to Breonna Taylor happening to any other family in Louisville, Kentucky. And we’re going to continue that fight beyond the City of Louisville, Kentucky, and throughout this country to protect and reform police departments across America. We recognized that this reform is not all encompassing and there’s still work to be done. And we commit our time, our talent and our resources to continue to work with the community, to fight the systemic racism plague in our city. We will continue to work on behalf and with the protestors who have put their freedom on the line to bring awareness to not just Breonna Taylor but to the systemic problems facing in our city. We know that without their voice, we would not be here today. Attorneys will ensure that prosecutors handling the case of protestors truly are administers of justice and not being punitive simply because those individuals chose to use their voice to shine a light on what was going on in Louisville, Kentucky.
Lonita Baker: (09:46)
We look forward to be in a bridge from this community to our elected leaders, to continue to push for change. We were continue to push for the mayor’s office and our other elected leaders to implement policies put forth in a path forward which calls for community investment, the support for small businesses, affordable housing, closing the education achievement gap, jobs and workforce development, and as an overhaul to the criminal justice system. That document was produced and signed by over 50 organizations in the city and it needs to be taken seriously. We look forward to working with other grassroots organization to ensure that we continue to hold our elected leaders accountable, but also to ensure that we continue to work with our elected leaders, because we will not get the policy changes that we need, we will not get the legal changes that we need if we don’t hold our elected leaders accountable. But in that same vein, we have to be willing to work with our elected leaders.
Lonita Baker: (10:42)
The beauty of what happened here today, the reform and the settlement, and again, it’s just a civil suit, happens when we work together. And so we do thank Mayor Fischer and his team for committing to the reform. This is unheard of in one of these cases where you get a financial settlement and police reform. But again, it was important to us, to Breonna’s family, to the lawyers involved, and it was important for us to give that back to the community which has been fighting so hard to say Breonna Taylor’s name. Lastly, as I stated when I started, justice for Breonna Taylor is multilayered. We are not going to stop our calls to hold the officers responsible for Breonna’s death accountable. We’re going to continue to put pressure on the attorney general’s office to present a fair case to the grand jury. And we know that that indictment is coming from the grand jury. We have faith that an indictment is coming from the grand jury.
Lonita Baker: (11:38)
In addition to the attorney general’s office, we must remember that the FBI is also doing an investigation into whether there were criminal civil rights violations leading to and after Breonna Taylor’s death. So we’re going to be looking for the federal indictment to come from the Department of Justice as well. But it’s important that people know that the City of Louisville, they’re not the ones that can bring the charges. So today what we did here was to do what we could do to bring a little bit of police reform. And it’s just a start, but we finished the first mile in a marathon and we got a lot more miles to go until we achieve and cross that finish line.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (12:22)
Thank you, Ms. Baker. We’ll now hear from county attorney, Mike O’Connell, whose team worked diligently and thoughtfully to get us to this important agreement. Mike.
Mike O’Connell: (12:37)
Thank you, Mayor. Ms. Palmer, may it please you today that we tried to bring some assistance and help to you and your family. Breonna Taylor’s life matters. Breonna Taylor’s life continues to matter, as you see here today. I’ve thought about Breonna’s mother, Ms. Palmer, throughout everything that has led us today. The hole in my heart of losing a child as well is the greatest grief I’ve ever known in my life, and nothing can fill that hole. I’ve tried to think how I would have reacted if Breonna was my daughter. Ms. Palmer has shown remarkable grace and courage these past six months. We did not wait to engage Ms. Palmer’s counsel to discuss this case. The independent investigations by the attorney general’s office and the FBI are welcomed, but that was not going to delay the work toward meaningful changes in our city.
Mike O’Connell: (13:51)
This is not simply a significant monetary figure, but as Ms. Baker just mentioned, it is a path of agreed action. The reforms were discussed and moved ahead by representatives from both parties. This work happened over many weeks with good faith and dedication by everybody that was involved. Everyone around the table was dedicated to advancing those reforms for the whole community. Ms. Palmer, we tried our best to get a start. Much time and effort went into this and I offer my appreciation to all involved. Let me just finish by saying today alone is not enough. My hope is this agreement is the next step in building a more just Louisville. A more just Louisville is the medicine we need to heal. Thank you very much.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (14:53)
Thank you, Mike. Next we’ll hear from Ben Crump, an attorney with Breonna’s estate. Ben Crump.
Benjamin Crump: (15:07)
Thank you, Mayor Fischer, Attorney Mike O’Connell to the Louisville Metro Council, to Tamika Palmer. As I sit and look at her and Bianca, my heart is filled because with Lonita, Sam and I, we have become like family. And it had been so long getting to this day, where we could assure that Breonna Taylor life wouldn’t be swept under the rug, like so many other black women in America who have been killed by police, marginalized. So I’m grateful to the actions of the city of Louisville today. And it is not just the historic $12 million settlement, which as I understand, is the largest amount ever paid out for a black woman in a wrongful death killed by a police in America. And Lonita, I believe it may be the largest amount ever payed for a black person in a police shooting. We’re still trying to verify that. And it is certainly, Tamika Mallory, one of the largest amounts ever paid out for any person in the way of settlement in a police killing in America. But the comprehensive reform that the Louisville Metro Council and Mayor Fischer put forth, is equally important, because this is about setting a precedence. When my great co-councils from Kentucky, Lonita Baker and Sam Aguiar first talk to me about this black woman who had been killed in her own apartment by this no knock warrant, they were very concerned that nobody cared. Nobody cared about this black woman, nobody cared about Tamika’s baby. And that’s when I started calling everybody I know to say that black women’s lives matter, too.
Benjamin Crump: (18:11)
I remember calling Reverend Al Sharpton and saying, “Can I come on your show?” I remember calling Rickey Smiley saying, “Can I get on your radio show, your national radio show?” I called Tamika Mallory and Mysonne and her team at Until Freedom. I called Senator Kamala Harris. I mean, I was saying to anybody who would listen, “Breonna Taylor life matters.” And Senator Kamala Harris was the first national elected official to go on national television and to say her name, Breonna Taylor. I called Tezlyn Figaro and Charlemagne and everybody to say, “We cannot let her life be swept under the rug.”
Benjamin Crump: (19:05)
And from all of these individuals. And so many others, especially the activists who came and was on the ground here in Louisville, saying that, “We won’t let Breonna Taylor life be swept under the rug.” And thank God with what has happened today, Mayor Fischer, not just with the historic amount, but equally important with the reform that Attorney Baker and Attorney O’Connell spoke of, it sets a precedence for other black women that their lives won’t be marginalized, that they will be valued. Lives like Sandra Bland, lives like Pamela Turner in Baytown, Texas, lives like seven-year old Aiyana Stanley in Detroit, who also was killed as a result of a dangerous no knock warrant, because we have to speak truth to power when we get an opportunity. And these dangerous no knock warrants are disproportionately executed against black people in America.
Benjamin Crump: (20:26)
And so I’m very happy that the Metro Council also stood united with Tamika Palmer to pass Breonna’s Law, to abolish these dangerous no knock warrants, because it was foreseeable who was most been put in danger with these no knock warrants. And so I want to point out very significant what happened in Louisville here today in representing George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jacob Blake and Kenosha, Wisconsin, Pamela Turner in Baytown, Texas, right outside of Houston, Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Botham Jean in Dallas, Texas, Joseph Richardson in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and so many other names of black people who have been killed by police in America.
Benjamin Crump: (21:35)
While most of America is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we in black America are not only dealing with that pandemic, but we’re also dealing with the 1619 pandemic, the pandemic that started 401 years ago when the first enslaved Africans came to America. And from that day to this one, we have been dealing with systematic racism and oppression, that have killed us inside and outside the courtroom. So it is worth noting that in all of those other cities, there has not been that responsive, comprehensive, and systematic reform that has occurred in Louisville, Kentucky, Tamika Palmer, in the name of Breonna Taylor, in the name of Breonna Taylor.
Benjamin Crump: (22:38)
But regardless of this landmark step on the journey to justice, we still are demanding that Kentucky Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, bring charges immediately against the police officers that murdered Breonna Taylor, immediately; this week. Justice delayed is justice denied. The city leadership has done a significant step today, but now it is on Daniel Cameron and the Attorney General of Kentucky’s office to bring charges. And at the very minimum, Lonita, second degree manslaughter charges, because we want full justice for Breonna Taylor, not just partial justice.
Benjamin Crump: (23:43)
Breonna Taylor is a light to help heal what’s happening in America. And if all those young people, those celebrities, athletes, but most importantly, the people who are on the ground, the people who are the activists and protestors whose saying, “Enough is enough.” We see that there are two justice systems in America, one for black America, and one for white America.
Benjamin Crump: (24:23)
In Louisville, Kentucky, we took significant steps today in the name of Breonna Taylor, of trying to correct this broken criminal justice system. And we do it in three phases: in the civil rights phase with this civil lawsuit, which is the only thing that Lonita and I can control. We can’t control the criminal prosecution. The mayor’s office and the city leadership all took a significant step in making sure that the civil rights of Breonna Taylor was recognized. And now, we also need our legislative partners to help transform the protests into policy. We need Breonna’s Law, not just in Louisville, not just in the state of Kentucky, but all throughout the United States of America because her life matters.
Benjamin Crump: (25:23)
And lastly, we need the criminal justice system, Daniel Cameron, to do its part, to give the full constitutional guarantees of all citizens, to a citizen, a daughter of Louisville, Kentucky, Breonna Taylor. And I would ask and complete in the healing, Mr. Mayor and City Attorney O’Connell, that all those young people who were courageous enough like Tamika Palmer and so many of your own in Louisville, the unknown John Lewis’s of the world who are creating good trouble here in Louisville, I would implore you, since Tamika calls me in way of the black America’s attorney general, and I don’t know if the attorney general of the United States is going to implore you to do it, but I will implore you to drop the charges against the non-violent protestors who was exercising their first amendment rights, because they said Breonna Taylor life mattered. And these young people should not have criminal records because they were on the right side of history.
Benjamin Crump: (26:55)
You all took a significant step and we want you all to be on the right side of history with us completely. Drop those charges in Breonna Taylor’s name. Let’s do justice in Breonna Taylor’s name. And let’s do justice with love in our hearts, because that is emblematic of Breonna Taylor, who Tamika says is the best version of her. Say her name, Breonna Taylor. [crosstalk 00:27:26]
Mayor Greg Fischer: (27:31)
Thank you, Mr. Crump. Next, Tamika Palmer, Breonna’s mom, would like to share a few words with us.
Tamika Palmer: (27:54)
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. Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground. So please continue to say her name, Breonna Taylor. [crosstalk 00:28:28]
Mayor Greg Fischer: (28:36)
Thank you, Ms. Palmer, thank you for your grace and for your strength and for your love for Breonna and for our city as well, and your determination to make this city a more just city and helped to get us to this agreement. So I’m grateful for that. Thank you. Next we’ll hear from Tamika Mallory of Until Freedom. Tamika.
Tamika Mallory: (29:01)
Thank you, Mayor Fischer. Justice for Breonna Taylor, and if there ain’t going to be no justice, there ain’t going to be no peace. A settlement is restitution, but it’s not arresting the cops. And we want to say today, that the police officers responsible for killing Breonna Taylor must be arrested, in order for the community to feel calm. We understand that this is an acknowledgement and a great acknowledgement of the wrongdoing that has happened, and it is important that our community understands what happened here today is very significant. It is significant because again, there is an acknowledgement of Breonna Taylor’s life, and the fact that those officers in this city murdered her. Breonna Taylor has shifted the atmosphere. She shifted it not just here in.
Tamika Mallory: (30:03)
She’s shifted it not just here in Kentucky but across the country. The ban on no knock warrants was where we begin in terms of great reform, and to know that attorney Lonita Baker and attorney Sam Aguiar continue to push for reform in this particular settlement is extremely important and it cannot be denied. We must acknowledge it. The reforms are evidence that the city, unfortunately, its police department has been exposed for some corruption that exists within the department. The significance of this settlement is a small price to pay for our sister’s life, a very small price to pay. They deserve all the money that we can muster up in the world just to help a little bit with the feeling of pain and turmoil that I know exists within this beautiful family.
Tamika Mallory: (31:05)
But let us not lose sight on the main focus as Tamika Palmer has said. The officers, Brett Hankinson, Miles Cosgrove, John Mattingly, and Joshua James must be arrested. We cannot forget about Joshua James, the man who lied on a no knock warrant application that sent police officers charging into the home of Breonna Taylor and Kenny Walker. We cannot forget about any of those officers, and if this police department is to do right by this community, if you know of other officers who were involved, they should be arrested and indicted immediately. Again, the restitution portion is one part, but arresting the officers is what will make this city do right by its citizens and not just Breonna Taylor, but all the Breonna Taylors across the city who are afraid sitting in their homes because to not have an indictment happen in this city is to say that no matter how much we pay, no matter how much reform we do, we’d rather pay, we’d rather cover it than to deal with the issue.
Tamika Mallory: (32:27)
And so I have to say to you, Mayor Fisher, we want to thank you for your leadership, but we want to say that if for any reason these officers are not indicted that you must instruct your police department to fire every single one of them on the spot. That is called getting justice for Breonna Taylor. Thank you very much.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (32:59)
Thank you Ms. Mallory, and finally we will hear from Keturah Herron, who is with the ACLU of Kentucky.
Keturah Herron: (33:17)
Good afternoon. My name is Keturah Herron and I’m a policy strategist at the ACLU of Kentucky and also a member of Black Lives Matter Louisville. I was honored when Breonna Taylor’s family asked me to be here today and I am grateful to Asia Holstenbarber and other members of the movement who helped me prepare my comments for today. To Breonna Taylor’s family, you deserve better than having to fight for six months after officers from Louisville Metro Police Department, some of whom remain nameless, killed your beloved family member. You deserve closure. You deserve rest. You deserve to be cared for and loved on and supported for the rest of your days.
Keturah Herron: (34:06)
I am grateful you have reached this point of some closure in some of the ways you have asked for. To Breonna, to her family, to the families of other persons who have been violated, abused, and killed by Louisville Metro Police Department, I hope enough of us are joining this movement for black lives to support you and give you a moment of rest grief and find routines that fortify you. We promise you that we will keep this fight going and we will win. We know we are not only fighting against the deadly violence that is intrical to policing. We are fighting for a completely different vision of being in community together. We are creating something different. We are creating a community that no longer invests our tax dollars and people who kill our neighbors, one that no longer needs to spend tax dollars on settlements that should never have been paid in the first place. No more.
Keturah Herron: (35:16)
Instead, we are creating a community that invests our tax dollars in our basic needs as human beings, in our joy, in our wellness and protecting each other. We are going to create a community where all people are supported by our investments and given the chance to reach their full potential rather than red lines and to disinvest in distant neighborhoods that remain out of sight and out of mind of those on the other side. No more. We want to end the so-called compassionate community that was never actually compassionate, where people were forced to compete against each other for scarce, essential resources, policed for the consequences of what it means to live in scarcity and then kill for our connections to each other. No more.
Keturah Herron: (36:12)
We are creating a community that finally sees the fruits of our collective labor and invests our tax dollars in ways that nourish us, nurture us, heal us, challenge us, and love us in ways that house us, feed us, and make us laugh. This is the community investment that values Black life and we will heal in Louisville. To local metro government and all the complicit decision makers throughout this horrifying experience, understand that this is not over. We are demanding full individual accountability and institutional accountability. While the culture of White supremacy has lied to you about what accountability means, let me tell you. Accountability includes self-reflection, repair, apology and changed behavior.
Keturah Herron: (37:11)
Changed behavior means no longer incentivized violence to abuse and kill our people. Accountability means an end to transactions that tinker around the edges. For years, we have watched as you tinker around the edges with our freedom. While you go all in with dangerous and wasteful programs that you call investments. From the police budget to the gentrification of our neighborhoods, you have used our own tax dollars to harm us. Our people demand transformation. Our people demand, rest, joy, solidarity, interdependence, and freedom. Change is here and it is the people’s to change, and it is the people’s to change. And to my people who are given so much of themselves to this moment striving for a better today and a better tomorrow, I would like to offer you these words are Harriet Tubman. “If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If they’re shouting after you, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” Thank you.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (38:36)
Thank you, Keturah. With that now, we’ll be happy to take questions.
Jean Porter: (38:42)
If we could, we have a microphone here for reporters and we’d like for you to raise your hand when you’re ready to ask a question. We’re trying to be sure that people on the WebEx can hear. Your questions, we’ll take a couple in the room. Then if there are any questions on the WebEx, I’ll give those questions and we’ll move around as many as we can.
Tessa Duvall: (39:10)
Thank you, Mayor. How much did the timing of the grand jury play into the announcement of this civil settlement? Was it important for the city to announce a civil settlement before the grand jury’s decision?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (39:24)
No. We’d been thinking about this and working about this for quite some time now so they’re on two different tracks in terms of the civil and the criminal. So the parties negotiated this settlement that came out here today.
Jean Porter: (39:39)
I forgot to ask if you would say your name and what media you’re with going forward.
Tessa Duvall: (39:45)
Tessa Duvall, Courier Journal here in Louisville. Regarding the payment, how much is coming from insurance and how much it’s coming from the risk management fund?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (39:55)
Yeah, let me introduce Daniel Frockt, our Chief Financial Officer, and he’ll break that down. Daniel Frockt.
Daniel Frockt: (40:09)
Afternoon, Daniel Frockt, Office of Management and Budget for the city. The $12 million payment will be broken down into three fund sources. $5 million will come from Louisville Metro, $5 million will come from our self insurance trust fund, excess insurance carrier, and $2 million will come from our self insurance trust fund that we participate in.
Sonay with WHS 11 News. Question for attorney Ben Crump and Lonita Baker. Does the settlement handle this legal action that you guys brought forth? The civil lawsuit named multiple officers who were involved in executing the warrant. So will you still try to sue those officers, especially if Daniel Cameron does not criminally charge the officers involved?
Lonita Baker: (40:56)
This settlement today, it wraps up the civil litigation so there will be no additional civil litigation, as we’ve stated. Our focus now is on the Attorney General’s office doing the right thing and bringing forth indictments against those officers.
Ben Crump: (41:12)
Yes. So we think it sets a precedent for other cases involving people of color around America.
Dalton Godbey: (41:21)
Dalton Godbey with WDRB. Mr. Mayor, can you commit right now to what Ms. Mallory just said about firing the officers if there is no indictment brought?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (41:32)
When I say “Justice for Breonna” what that means is the truth needs to come out in the case and that’s what the whole process is about with the Attorney General. I don’t know what he’s going to do and what he’s going to come out with. Obviously, the one officer that we were able to take action against, we did, and so now we’re going to wait for the rest of the process to continue.
Amber Smith: (41:56)
Mayor Fischer, Amber Smith, with Spectrum News here. If you could put into words what all of these different reforms, both with Louisville Metro Government and with LMPD will mean for the community.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (42:09)
Well, in order for the community to heal and move forward there needs to be legitimacy and trust between the community and the police force, both here in Louisville and all over the country. This is a conversation that’s taking place so we hope that these are steps that are going to begin that process so that we can work forward together. This isn’t going to be an overnight activity, but it’s a step.
Jean Porter: (42:35)
Mayor, this is a question from the WebEx, Steve Bittenbender from the Center Square asks, “Will any of the reforms require Metro Council approval or the sign off from FOP? What happens to this agreement if those reforms aren’t implemented?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (42:50)
Well, we need to work with both parties to make sure that it is implemented. Some of them can be done within the police department themselves.
Danny Camber: (43:00)
Danny Camber with WLKY News. Who was at the negotiating table from the FOP or from LMPD when it came to discussing these reforms?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (43:10)
To talk about that I’ll bring up Mike O’Connell.
Mike O’Connell: (43:15)
The reforms that became part of the settlement agreement were done primarily by counsel for the respective parties and consultation with those police officials that could lend information and procedural protocol, and that type of thing. But this was a decision made by the administration and just sitting down and doing a long negotiation over it. But we always knew from the beginning, it was made very clear, as Lonita said, we always knew from the beginning that some aspect of any settlement in this case was going to have to contain reforms, and Ms. Palmer and Lonita, they were very involved in the conversations about at least at this point in going forward, what can we do now that we can move the rock in that regard?
Mike O’Connell: (44:10)
While I’m up here, Daniel, I want to correct you on one thing. You asked about the source of the funds and how it worked. Somebody over here did. But part of the funds were the Louisville Area Government Insurance Trust purchases excess coverage from an insurance carrier in certain cases, and $5 million of this came from the excess carrier that is the insurance carrier for the Government Insurance Trust. So the breakdown though is Louisville is responsible for the first $500,000, LEGIT, or the Government Insurance Trust, is responsible for the next $2 million, and that’s an insurance trust in which the water company and TARK and others participate in. And then there was the-
Mike O’Connell: (45:01)
[inaudible 00:00:00]. And then there was the 5 million from the carrier and then the additional sums were from Louisville metro. Did I say that right, Daniel?
Speaker 1: (45:12)
Mike O’Connell: (45:13)
Okay. Thank you.
Jean Porter: (45:15)
The next question is from Sal Bono of Inside Edition Digital. He asks, if you’re waiting for everything to come out on police in order to fire them, why did the city choose to settle?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (45:33)
The timing of this was such that both parties felt it was best to do it now so we could talk about both the reform aspects of this and of course the financial settlement.
Natalia Martinez: (45:45)
Mayor Fischer, this is Natalia Martinez with WAVE 3 News. What would you say to any possible criticism that this was settled only as a way for you to not have to testify and answer questions in relation to the case for the chief and subsequent chief, the interim chief that came after Conrad to not have to answer questions about this case and also members of the police department?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (46:10)
These are not related issues and will testify as need be.
Mark Morrison: (46:17)
Hi Mr. Mayor, my name is Mark Morrison, reporter with CNN. I had a couple of questions. When was the last time you spoke with the attorney general regarding this case, and why haven’t the other officers that were there that night been fired? Is there’s something that you saw in after action reports that didn’t warrant that, or is there any particular reason?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (46:37)
We took the action based on what we saw in the PIU file as it was given over to the attorney general and the state law procedures. It goes from PIU to our local Commonwealth attorney who recused himself. That’s why it’s at the attorney general’s standpoint right now.
Jean Porter: (47:01)
This question is from Marissa Lottie, from the Washington Post. She asks, who in the Louisville Police Department currently signs off on search warrants, if not commanders? What is the process?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (47:17)
Too short? Rob Schroeder’s here, if he could take that, please.
Jean Porter: (47:26)
Police chief, Rob Schroeder.
Rob Schroeder: (47:31)
Good afternoon. Currently in our process, a search warrant is applied for by the officer. It is reviewed by a potentially commanding officer in many cases, but not necessarily always. It is signed off by a commanding officer that may be by somebody in an acting capacity. What this agreement does is solidify that it will be an actual commanding officer at the rank of sergeant or above. So that’s what the significance of the change you’re seeing is here.
Rukmini Callimachi : (48:06)
Mayor Fisher, my name is Rukmini Callimachi. I am a journalist with the New York Times. I wanted to ask you number one, if the city has admitted any fault as a result of the settlement. And secondly, my second question is for Ms. Tamika Mallory. If the law does not allow the attorney general to charge the officers that returned fire in self-defense, what will be the answer of protestors and demonstrators seeking justice for Breonna Taylor?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (48:39)
No, this agreement or settlement agreement does not say that there was any wrongdoing done. In this case, it’s just an acknowledgement of the need for reform and the need for a settlement to take place.
Jean Porter: (48:53)
Next question is from Jonathan Allen from Reuters. [crosstalk 00:48:56] I’m sorry.
Ms. Tamika Mallory: (48:59)
I wouldn’t in any way as one of the four leaders of Until Freedom speak for all of the protesters who are here locally in Louisville, we will be led by the actions of the family, the actions of the local organizers. But I will say that we will make sure that our voices continue to be heard. And if it is a legal situation that they come out with as a reason for non-indictments, then we need to work with Keturah and ACLU and others to fight on that end as well.
Jean Porter: (49:33)
Thank you. Jonathan Allen from Reuters asks, “How will you monitor and measure progress on the reforms announced today? Will there be regular public reporting of how many officers use housing credits, how many warrants are issued? And if so, how frequently?”
Mayor Greg Fischer: (49:49)
You know that obviously we’re in the process of getting started to make sure that people know that we’re accountable for the promises that we’ve made and we can issue a report on that in terms of what that looks like from aN accountability standpoint.
Mr. Mayor, this is Graham [Embers 00:50:06] with WFTL. The city is anxiously awaiting the decision from Attorney General Cameron. In other cities across the country, we’ve seen federal forces get called in to quell unrest or just whenever there are protests, in some cases. Do you know of any plans for federal forces to come in when the decision’s released or otherwise?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (50:26)
Nothing specific in terms of the general community. I understand that there has been some requests for some federal protective services, not for the grand jury, but for the federal courthouse, excuse me.
Jean Porter: (50:47)
Tessa from the Courier Journal again. This is for Lonita Baker and Ben Crump. We’ve heard about a lot of the reforms that you are getting, but is there anything that you pushed that you did not get or that you wish you had gotten?
Lonita Baker: (51:04)
[crosstalk 00:51:04] Now we say when you’re negotiating, everyone’s supposed to walk away without receiving everything that they received. I will say, however, in this case, the most important areas of reform were provided. Metro was very willing to work with us on that. The things that we felt important, and as I also stated that we recognized that this is not the end of reform. So we look forward to continuing to work with the city, our legislative leaders in Frankfurt to continue to push for additional reforms. So we’re not done yet.
Benjamin Crump: (51:45)
What was important to me and Lonita and Sam was what was most important to Tamika Palmer and Bianca, who really was studying what reform would look like to try to prevent the next Breonna Taylor from happening. And I think to that end, the city was very responsive in trying to make sure there was measurable systematic reform that could be a model for other citizens and other cities to protect their citizens. And so I think in the name of Breonna Taylor, this is landmark in its scope. And I believe just like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown helped bring greater attention in America to Black Lives Matter, I believe Breonna Taylor’s name is going to bring greater attention in America to Black Women’s Lives Matter too.
Jean Porter: (52:56)
Okay. We’re going to have time for just a couple more questions. One more from here. [crosstalk 00:53:02] One more from here.
Dalton Godbey: (53:04)
Dalton Godbey, WDRB. Mr. Mayor, why does the settlement not address the body cam failure in the Breonna Taylor case? And then also a question for Mr. O’Connell, do you have any plans to drop all charges against non-violent protesters?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (53:21)
Breonna’s law has passed already here locally. I suspended the use of no-knock and then the council took it up and eliminated them. That eliminates no-knock warrants and requires the use of body cameras on anyone that is executing a search warrant. So that’s already in place.
Mike O’Connell: (53:42)
I can tell you we’ve taken steps in my office to already look at every case and place them in what I would call a file of the least offensive sort of charges to the middle and then obviously the most serious. There are a lot of serious offenses that were committed that we have to address not the same way we would on this end. So to answer your question, I’m going to look at them very carefully. We’re going to make a decision, but I think we’re going to see some movement in the right direction.
Jean Porter: (54:11)
Senait with WHAS 11. Mayor Greg Fischer, is this settlement of reflection that the officers acted wrong? And another question, is there a reason why you added increased drug and alcohol testing of officers involved in shootings? Why was that added specifically?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (54:29)
Second question, that’s just a good practice for any organization to make sure that everyone is operating their responsibilities in a straight manner. On the first note, this is just an agreement between the parties without saying anybody did anything wrong. It’s just coming together with these reforms and then a financial settlement.
Jean Porter: (54:52)
Okay. Our last question comes from Kate Howard from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Journalism. You mentioned reform as it related to seizing money. Was there a seizure in the Taylor case? And if not, can you address why it’s part of the settlement?
Mayor Greg Fischer: (55:09)
I think Mike, I’ll give that to you.
Mike O’Connell: (55:14)
Well, Lonita go first.
Lonita Baker: (55:16)
It’s not an issue specifically within this case, but there’s allegations out there. And this piece of reform is to protect the community as well as officers with any allegations, as it relates to current seizure. So now as they come into contact with money, they must always have a second officer with them and both officers must have their body cameras on until they turn to the property room. So it’s not that it was an issue in this case. It’s just what are some of the things that were coming up. [crosstalk 00:55:54].
Jean Porter: (55:56)
Okay. If any media have any other questions, you can direct them to my email, firstname.lastname@example.org. And we’ll get those routed as need be.
Mayor Greg Fischer: (56:07)
All right. Thank you everybody for attending today. And we hope this announcement is one step in moving our city and our country forward. Thanks everybody. [inaudible 00:56:16]