NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced Monday that the city will pay a multi-million-dollar settlement to the families of victims who were killed in police shootings in the days after Hurricane Katrina, as well as a deadly beating that happened before the storm.
"The city is here today to try to the extent that is humanly possible to bring closure to this dark, dark, dark time and to pledge that it shall never happen again," said Landrieu. "In an effort to make sure that the people of the City of New Orleans know that we are going to change as a people and we are going to change as a city because we choose to."
"We would do anything and everything we can do to prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again, and we will take aggressive action against any officer who chooses to violate our policies, the law, or the community's trust," said New Orleans Police Department Superintendent, Michael Harrison.
City leaders are referring to the high-profile Danziger Bridge case, where former NOPD officers were accused of shooting and killing James Brissette, 17, and Ronald Madison, 40, who was mentally disabled, as well as the fatal shooting of Henry Glover just days after Hurricane Katrina. In that case, several NOPD officers were on trial, one was accused of killing Glover, another was accused of burning his body. And, the beating death of Raymond Robair. In that case, two former officers received prison sentences in connection with his death that happened before Katrina.
"Now, this is closure for me and I can go forward feeling better because I know the old New Orleans does not exist anymore," said Brissette's Mother, Sherrell Johnson.
"Ain't nothing going to bring him back, nothing, no amount of money, no nothing will bring Henry back, we wish it could, but it can't," said Glover's aunt, Rebecca Glover.
"I personally would like to thank the Mayor and Chief Harrison for their commitment to improving things here in the city, I think their plans for the future of the city will be a great improvement for everyone and stand as an example to not only the city, the state, and throughout the United States," said Madison's brother, Romell Madison, D.D.S.
Landrieu also offered an apology on behalf of the city to those families, "the people standing behind you have chosen to give us the grace and the blessing of forgiveness for what it is that happened to them," said Landrieu.
The city will pay that $13.3 million settlement to 17 plaintiffs over the next two years.