NEW ORLEANS—Today, Mayor Landrieu joined city officials and the families of James Brissette, Henry Glover, Ronald Madison, and Raymond Robair to announce the settlements in civil rights cases stemming from several New Orleans Police Department-involved incidents surrounding Hurricane Katrina.
“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,” Mayor Landrieu said. “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. At the completion of the criminal cases, the City Attorney and her team diligently worked to settle these three major civil lawsuits against the city. Now we can look forward and as best we can bring closure to this terrible and difficult period in our history.”
The City has settled three federal lawsuits, with 17 claimants for just over $13 million.
In partnership with the City Council, the City has prioritized resolving some of its long-term federal liabilities and old judgements. The City issued bonds this year in the amount of $10 million and will so again next year to satisfy legal judgments and pay legal liabilities.
The NOPD is in the midst of the most comprehensive reform effort in the United States. When Mayor Landrieu took office, he invited the Department of Justice to partner with the City to strengthen and reform NOPD.
The City has invested over $50 million in the consent decree to completely transform NOPD. The City has driven major reforms, including beefing up sex crime investigations, use of force investigations, and hiring and training practices.
The City strengthened the Public Integrity Bureau to target misconduct and brought on an Independent Police Monitor, invested in over 800 body worn cameras to further improve transparency, modernized the NOPD Crime Lab and new evidence processing facility, and created a Police Community Advisory Board in each district to develop a formal partnership between police and residents.
NOPD launched Ethical Policing is Courageous (EPIC) – a peer intervention program for officers to help police and support each other to do the right thing. The City also invested $4 million in a state-of-the-art software that allows NOPD to electronically capture an officer’s personnel file and track areas of support needed before incidents occur.
Mayor Landrieu added, “These cases could have been a substantial lingering financial burden for the City, but instead of kicking the can, we did the hard thing and made this a priority— the City will be better off in the long run because of it.”