City announces $13.3M settlement in lawsuits over Katrina police shootings

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Seventeen plaintiffs involved in civil lawsuits over police shootings that happened just before and during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will split a $13.3 million settlement, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced at a press conference Monday afternoon.

Landrieu said the settlement brings an end to “a very dark moment in the history of New Orleans.”

The mayor was joined by the families of James Brissette, Ronald Madison, Henry Glover and Raymond Robair, all of whom died at the hands of NOPD officers.

“After all the work we’ve done, we come here to do the hardest thing as a city … to say I’m sorry, and to say I forgive you. Both are pathways to healing for individuals and families,” Landrieu said.

Brissette, 17, and Madison, 40, were shot and killed by NOPD officers Sept. 4, 2005 on the Danziger Bridge. Both were unarmed, and Madison was mentally challenged.

Glover, 31, was shot and killed by officers outside a strip mall after Katrina. Officers then burned his body in a car.

Robair, 48, was beaten to death by an NOPD officer about a month before the storm.

Five officers were charged in connection with Glover’s death, but only one, ex-NOPD officer Gregory McRae, is serving prison time for Glover’s death and the subsequent cover-up.

Five former officers also pleaded guilty to their roles in the Danziger Bridge shootings and cover-ups. Four of them received seven-12 year prison sentences, while a fifth got three years for his role in covering up the crime.

“We have come to the conclusion of a very painful episode,” Landrieu said. “When these individuals were looking for people to protect and serve … they got the complete opposite. Money can never fill the hole, but I am hopeful that an apology on behalf of the city and forgiveness from the family … I’m hoping in some sense the strength of these families will help the city find peace in our future.”