New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants to settle several long-standing civil rights claims against the city over notorious episodes of police violence in the days after Hurricane Katrina 11 years ago, reports The New Orleans Advocate.
The most heinous of the incidents concerns New Orleans Police Officer David Warren, who shot and killed 31-year-old Henry Glover at an Algiers strip mall after Glover went there to get clothes for his baby; it also concerns the cover-up of said shooting by another officer, who torched Glover’s body in a car.
Another incident concerns the Danziger Bridge killings, where two people—17-year-old James Brissette and mentally disabled 40-year-old Ronald Madison—were killed by officers of the NOPD. Four others were shot at on the bridge and survived.
Interestingly, unlike in other cities where the families of victims of police misconduct are paid before the cases go through the courts of law, in New Orleans, this is not the case. The shootings and alleged cover ups resulted in criminal prosecutions and, later, court-ordered police reforms, but no civil damages were ever paid to the survivors and families.
For years, according to the report, the civil lawsuits after Katrina took a back seat to the prosecution of more than a dozen police officers involved in the two cases. Then came lengthy appeals, a retrial for Warren that ended with his acquittal in 2013 for Glover’s killing, and two years of wrangling over a judge’s decision to toss out the convictions of five officers in the Danziger Bridge case.
In a recent interview with the Advocate, though, Mayor Landrieu said that some of the $20 million earmarked in his proposed budget to pay off a slew of civil judgments against the city may go to the Danziger and Glover plaintiffs.
The outlet reports that dates with court-appointed mediators have been set in both cases—in November for the Danziger plaintiffs and in early December for those seeking claims related to Glover’s killing and the alleged police beatings of three men who tried to help Glover by rushing him to an emergency police outpost (where they were beaten and arrested, ostensibly for the crime of being Black).
The lone remaining criminal defendant in either case is NOPD Sgt. Gerard Dugue, who is accused of helping cover up the police attack that left Madison and teenager Brissette dead on the Danziger Bridge. Plea talks for Dugue appear to be ongoing, with a trial now slated for Nov. 7.
SOURCE: New Orleans Advocate | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty