The city of New Orleans agreed to pay $13.3 million to settle lawsuits with 17 plaintiffs who sued the city for wrongful deaths and injuries caused by police during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in 2005, officials said.
“Today, we acknowledge a dark moment in our history. The brutal Henry Glover, Danziger Bridge and Raymond Robair incidents left us all disappointed and ashamed,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu during a press conference Monday.
“On behalf of the City, we are so sorry these families have had to endure this hurt. After over 11 years, we have reached a settlement with these victims and families to take responsibility and begin healing.”
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After a report from the U.S. Justice Department civil right’s division was released in 2011, 20 New Orleans police officers were charged in a series of civil rights investigations. Included among these were three lethal incidents: Henry Glover was shot to death by police officer outside a shopping center; Raymond Robair was beaten to death; and six days after the storm, police officers shot six unarmed people on the city’s Danziger Bridge.
Eleven officers pleaded guilty to charges related to the bridge shootings, which took place less than a week after Katrina’s landfall, according to CBS. Among the charges was a cover-up that included a planted gun, fabricated witnesses and falsified reports, CBS reports.
A federal judge who presided over a trial for five officers charged in the bridge shootings threw out their convictions in 2013 after evidence of prosecutorial misconduct was revealed, according to the Associated Press. The judge ordered a new trial for the five officers, who ultimately pleaded guilty in April.
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“In some small way, the lives that have been maimed and the lives have been taken were not lives that were or will be lived in vain,” Landrieu said while families of the victims stood behind him. “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.”