The city of New Orleans announced a $13.3 million settlement Monday for several police brutality cases from the weeks before and after Hurricane Katrina, reports the New York Times.
For one mother, the settlements ended what was an “‘awful, long and rough road’ beginning with acts of grim and pointless violence and continuing through an 11-year legal journey.”
The trio of cases included some of the most violent and talked-about examples of police violence in recent years before Ferguson and the rise of Black Lives Matter. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu addressed those difficult days at the news conference announcing the settlements to a crowd composed of victims’ families, the report says:
“There were angels among us that we never knew,” the mayor [Landrieu] said of those days in 2005, when the city was flooded and nearly anarchic. “But evidently, there were demons as well.”
He offered an apology on behalf of the city and spoke of the strides the New Orleans Police Department had made under extensive federal oversight, in what he called “the most comprehensive consent decree in the history of the United States.” He also said that the 17 plaintiffs had offered forgiveness in return.
Some at the news conference confirmed this forgiveness.
The cases prompted federal scrutiny, and the U.S. Department of Justice conducted an investigation of New Orleans police that called for a court-enforced reform plan.
Victims’ families and city officials attended a private prayer service before the news conference, reported NBC News.