LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A Louisville couple and their three children were awarded $460,000 by the city to settle a 2019 lawsuit alleging 14 SWAT officers from the Louisville Metro Police Department were killed made a mistake when they searched their house and smashed the front door with explosive devices and held the family at gunpoint.
The couple who own the home, Ashlea Burr and Mario Daugherty — a local artist whose work has been featured at the Kentucky Derby Museum and on local news — received $60,000, while their three children received more than $133,000 each , according to the agreement reached earlier this month.
“The family is relieved that the city resolved this matter, recognized its importance and helped bring the traumatic event to an end,” said their attorney, Josh Rose.
Funds for the children will be placed in a restricted account where the funds withdrawn must be approved by the court and used to educate and support the children, according to the Feb. 2 agreement obtained through an open records request.
The agreement provides that the city admits no fault and both sides have agreed to avoid “the cost and uncertainty of continued litigation” in a “contentious claim.”
Police, including five officers later involved in the Breonna Taylor case, conducted the October 2018 raid because a detective, Joseph Tapp, claimed he had smelled marijuana on separate occasions coming from outside the home in the West Chestnut Street came believing someone was growing marijuana and selling it. according to the search warrant.
Rose said officers acted on a tip given to police months before Burr and Daugherty moved into the home.
And the lawsuit filed against the city and several officials claimed there was no probable cause for a raid, the search warrant contained false information, and police misconduct created a situation that “could very easily have resulted in the death of a parent or a child no.” good reason.”
In fact, a man and woman named in the search warrant affidavit and described as growing and selling marijuana do not live in the home — information the lawsuit says could easily have been discovered by police.
The pair were initially believed to have been robbed on October 26, 2018, when officers smashed down the front door, forcing Daugherty to the ground and holding the others at gunpoint.
One of the children, a 14-year-old child, was trying to run to her grandmother’s house next door when police drew their guns and forced her to the ground outside in the rain, the lawsuit says.
In a bodycam video of the incident, the teenager can be heard sobbing.
Police continued to point assault rifles at the family “even after it became clear that the residence was a family home — and not a drug dealer‘s hideout,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also challenges the use of force by the SWAT team.
“It is completely unreasonable to execute an arrest warrant that vaguely mentions someone possibly smoking marijuana in an apartment with a SWAT team of 14 officers, exploding devices, forced entry and assault rifles, especially when an investigation has not been conducted to determine who lived in the apartment,” says the suit.
Five of the officers – Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove, Mike Nobles, Joshua Jaynes and Mike Campbell – were later involved in the planning or raid on Breonna Taylor’s home on March 13, 2020, in which Taylor was killed.
Hankison is currently on trial for endangerment after shooting at a neighbor’s apartment during the Taylor raid.
The lawsuit argued the department had a habit of searching predominantly African-American homes in predominantly black neighborhoods “without probable cause” and in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches.
The family said the department should have made changes to their home after the raid that could have prevented Taylor’s death.
“What happened to us should have stopped then,” Burr told WDRB News in June 2020. “You should have stepped forward and made changes then, and Breonna’s life could have been spared.”
Since the Taylor raid, police have virtually stopped entering homes to execute search warrants. according to an investigation from the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.
The story, published in August, revealed that police had only carried out four forced entries linked to search warrants in the past 14 months. This compares to 67 such raids in the seven months prior to the Taylor raid.
The US Department of Justice is investigating the policing and practices of the LMPD, including whether the Department conducts unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures on patrols and when executing search warrants on private homes.
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