After Breonna Taylor settlement, WNBA players want officers arrested

7:30 PM ET


CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

WNBA players have worn Breonna Taylor’s name on the backs of their jerseys all season in the bubble in Bradenton, Florida, as part of their social justice initiative. As the league playoffs began Tuesday, the news that a $12 million settlement had been reached between Taylor’s family and the city of Louisville was met with a similar reaction from multiple WNBA players during video conference calls.

They want to see the arrest of the police officers involved in the raid on Taylor’s apartment that resulted in her being shot to death in March.

Kentucky’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, is continuing to investigate the officers’ conduct, but no timetable has been given on a decision about charges. The FBI is also investigating Taylor’s death.

“Why aren’t they arrested?” the Las Vegas Aces’ Angel McCoughtry said. “What else do we need to do? What else do people need to see?”

The Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker, whose 11-year-old daughter is in the bubble with her, said the settlement money is no consolation for the loss of Taylor’s life to Taylor’s mother and family.

“This is a step. But this isn’t what our goal was,” Parker said. “And obviously, we wear Breonna Taylor’s name on the back of our jersey, but she represents so many other women that have been killed because of police brutality. You know, as a mother, there’s no amount of money, no amount of money, that could take that [loss] away. So I don’t think that does anything.”

The Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart, who is part of the WNBA’s social justice council, echoed McCoughtry and Parker.

“My initial reactions are obviously, it’s a step in the right direction,” Stewart said. “I think that a settlement is not justice. Money is not bringing justice for Breonna Taylor or her family, and those officers still need to be arrested. I think that the spotlight has kind of been on Louisville and [Kentucky] Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and I hope that he continues to do what needs to be done and arrest her killers.”

Minnesota Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said a settlement doesn’t place the accountability for Taylor’s death in the right place.

“I don’t believe that settlements are the path to reform,” Reeve said. “I think it’s contrary to the idea of accountability. I do believe the Breonna Taylor family deserves every penny and more. That’s not justice. Ultimately, these settlements continue to penalize the communities that are being brutalized. Because it is taxpayers that are going to be responsible for that settlement.

“I don’t understand their inability to recognize what accountability means. It doesn’t solve anything. The same thing is going to continue to happen until we have massive reform within this awful system that we have in policing.”

Taylor, 26, was killed at approximately 12:40 a.m. on March 13 after police served a no-knock search warrant on her apartment for a narcotics investigation. Taylor was not the target of the investigation and had no criminal record. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a shot after police knocked down Taylor’s door, saying later that he was afraid assailants were breaking in. Three officers responded with multiple shots, with five hitting and killing Taylor in her hallway. One of the officers was fired, and the others were assigned to administrative duties. The police contend that they announced their presence before breaking in.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, filed a lawsuit in April against the officers. Tuesday’s settlement included multiple reforms to be enacted by the Louisville Metro Police department.

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