LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Tuesday, the city of Louisville and the family of Breonna Taylor agreed on a record-breaking civil settlement, the largest ever paid by the city in an officer-involved shooting case. Per the agreement, the city will pay Taylor’s family $12 million and enact 12 specific police department reforms.
“My administration isn’t waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said.
Tuesday, WAVE 3 News showed the proposed changes to retired Louisville Metro Police officers.
“Accountability is always the answer," former Sergeant Chuck Cooper said.
He’s talking about accountability for both police officers and rioters, who for a weekend, tore up downtown Louisville.
Cooper was an officer for 31 years, serving across the city, including the West End. He told WAVE 3 News the new proposed changes can improve trust between the community and the department, especially an expanded use of body cameras. He also said trust will most likely be restored from the ground up, meaning through patrol officers who interact with the communities they serve every day.
“I used a body camera for everything I could possibly use it for when I was working," Cooper said. "And if I was counting money it certainly would’ve been done on camera because document, document, document.”
Former Lieutenant Richard Pearson told WAVE 3 News changes need to be made outside of the department as well. He said the relationship between the community and LMPD will not fully heal until Louisville’s leadership changes.
“Until we get a new leadership, a new mayor, a new police chief that are actually transparent, that are actually in touch with the community, or at least try to be in touch with the community, I believe this distrust between the police and the public is going to continue," Pearson said.
Both Pearson and Cooper said the pressure rank-in-file officers feel over the past few months has been high, due especially to the rise in anti-police sentiment.
“That feeling that you can lay down your life for your community and you can still be hated by some, that is a difficult pill to swallow," Cooper said.
Tuesday, Fischer was asked if members of LMPD or the Fraternal Order of Police were involved in the decision to enact reforms. He deferred to Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell.
“The reforms that became part of this 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," O’Connell said. "But, this was a decision made by the administration and just sitting down and doing a lot of negotiation over it.”
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