race

Stephanie Wolf

The city of Louisville will pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor and adopt several policing reforms to settle the family’s wrongful death lawsuit, the city announced Tuesday afternoon.

The payment — the largest for police misconduct in city history — follows a months-long firestorm of protests, police reforms and demands for justice after the police shooting death of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman and emergency room tech, who Louisville Metro Police officers shot and killed in March during an early morning raid at her apartment.

“Justice for Breonna is multilayered. What we were able to accomplish today through the civil settlement against the officers was tremendous, but it’s only a portion of a single layer,” said Taylor family attorney Lonita Baker. “It’s important to note here that a financial settlement was non-negotiable without significant police reform.”

Tennessee Dept. of Correction

A new national report on racial disparities in the death penalty explores two high-profile cases that are winding their way through the courts here in Tennessee. The analysis, published Tuesday by the Death Penalty Information Center, highlights the ways Black people are more likely to be discriminated against at every step — from arrest to jury selection to execution.

The report says Shelby County prosecutors used racial tropes to paint Pervis Payne as a drug user “looking for sex.” And in Nashville, the district attorney struck Black people from the jury in Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman’s case.

Researcher Ngozi Ndulue says these cases show how systemic racism stacks the odds against Black people who have been accused of capital crimes.

Ryland Barton

Members of Kentucky’s Black Legislative Caucus met with Gov. Andy Beshear to discuss a possible special legislative session to pass bills dealing with police reforms and racial injustice.

The development comes as protests over the death of Breonna Taylor have continued for more than three months in Louisville and as the investigation into her death is still being investigated by Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s office.

Rep. George Brown, a Democrat from Lexington, said that discussions about the possible special session are still ongoing.

Jess Clark | WFPL

A coalition of activist groups is renewing their calls against the Kentucky Derby, a day before the 146th running at Churchill Downs.

Groups including Until Freedom and the Justice and Freedom Coalition are planning to protest near the track during Saturday’s races, which will be held without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic. Standing on Central Avenue Friday, organizers criticized what they called a provocative response from the city.

“Our reality is that it seems like nobody cares,” said Pastor Mario Martin of the Justice and Freedom Coalition. “How? Because they say ‘We’re going to allow peaceful protest.’ But then if you turn around and look, you see tanks. You see soldiers to stand in opposition to that.”

As Republican Sen. Rand Paul left the White House on Thursday night, he was surrounded by a group of protesters and was escorted by police to a nearby hotel.

Ryland Barton

State Rep. Charles Booker spoke at the March on Washington, D.C. on Friday, calling for demonstrators to continue demanding racial justice and accountability for police.

Booker ran for the Democratic nomination to take on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this year, but narrowly lost to retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath during the primary election in June.

Booker experienced a late surge in support during the race amid protests over the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

 


Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, mortality rates and life expectancy are far better for white Americans than they are for Black people during normal, non-pandemic years, according to an analysis published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Stephanie Wolf

On the eve of the last day of BreonnaCon, family members of Black people killed by police and gun violence rallied in Louisville to show their support for a bill that would ban no-knock warrants in Kentucky and to let it be known that they’d like to see a nationwide ban. 

BreonnaCon wraps up Tuesday with what organizers, the social justice group Until Freedom, says will be big direct action event on “Good Trouble Tuesday.”

Until Freedom held a press conference Monday, focusing on a push for “Breonna’s Law for Kentucky,” a statewide ban on no-knock warrants.

Ryland Barton

Family members of Breonna Taylor and their attorneys are renewing their call for the police officers involved in her death to be fired and criminally charged.

Thursday marked 150 days since Taylor, a 26 year-old Black woman and emergency medical technician, was shot to death by Louisville police officers executing a no-knock search warrant on her home in the middle of the night.

Ben Crump, a lawyer representing Taylor’s family, said he expects that the investigation into Taylor’s death will be resolved “sooner rather than later.”

Tony Gonzalez | WPLN News

Tennessee’s Supreme Court says it wants to eliminate racial discrimination in the state’s judicial system. A new initiative follows the recent groundswell of protests against systemic racism in policing.

But accusations of racial bias are not new in Tennessee’s court system.

As far back as 1997, a report by the Supreme Court’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness found multiple examples of discrimination, including harsher sentences for minority defendants.

Corporate executives and sports officials are joining a growing number of elected officials who want to recognize Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery, as an official U.S. holiday. The movement is being fueled by the Black Lives Matter protests demanding reforms following the killing of 46-year-old George Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25.

Juneteenth, which is on June 19, has long been an important holiday in the African American community, a time for celebration rather than mourning and remembrance.

Jess Clark

When a historically Black church in Louisville’s Shelby Park neighborhood was damaged by gunfire last week, it had all the elements of what is usually called a hate crime.

The Little Flock Missionary Baptist Church was founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. It was damaged by gunfire in the early morning on June 3 amid historic protests against anti-Black racism. According to police, eyewitnesses saw four white men firing shots in the area. 

Hate crimes — or crimes motivated by prejudice or bias — have what the FBI calls a “devastating impact” on families and communities.

Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says the state will take some concrete steps to remedy some of the racial inequities laid bare by both the coronavirus pandemic and the recent protests of police treatment of Black people in Louisville and across the country.

Beshear says the state will begin an effort to extend health insurance to every Black person in Kentucky.

“My commitment today is we are going to begin an effort to cover 100% of our individuals in our Black and African-American communities. Everybody,” Beshear said. “We’re going to be putting dollars behind it, we’re going to have a multi-faceted campaign to do it. But it’s time, especially during COVID-19 when we see what happens when you don’t have coverage; we’re going to make sure everyone does.”

Before she was a hashtag or a headline, before protesters around the country chanted her name, Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old woman who played cards with her aunts and fell asleep watching movies with friends.

That changed on March 13, when police officers executing a no-knock warrant in the middle of the night killed her in her apartment in Louisville, Ky.

Jacob Ryan | WFPL

David McAtee had a running joke with a group of young men that would frequent his small barbecue stand.

When the police would show up for a meal, the men would retreat inside the shop to avoid the officers. McAtee, though, would laugh and cut up with the officers, sneaking glances at the men taking cover inside.

Afterwards, McAtee would step into the shop, beaming with a big smile on his face, asking the men why they didn’t like good friends.

“I’d tell him, ‘What you mean, why I don’t like your friends?’” said one of the young men, who goes by Snow. “I don’t like the police.”

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