Police Brutality Lawsuit Reaches Settlement

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New Orleans Police Department squad car at New Orleans Pride, by flickr user Tony Webster, licensed by Creative Commons.

“It’s hard to be a saint in the city”

An 11-year dispute finally reached a resolution in the amount of $13.3 million. The lawsuit against the city of New Orleans was filed in the days following Hurricane Katrina. Seventeen plaintiffs in the suit brought allegations against the city, claiming it was responsible for “wrongful deaths and injuries, deprivation of civil rights and lost wages caused by instances of police brutality.” The three major complaints referenced in the lawsuit include a police-related shooting, resulting in the amputation of one woman’s arm and the deaths of two men on the Danziger Bridge; the cover-up of the shooting of a gentleman named Henry Glover; and the beating and death of a gentleman named Raymond Robair, by a police officer.

Regarding the bridge shootings and deaths, eleven police officers pleaded guilty to “falsified reports and fabricated witnesses, as well as a cover-up with a planted gun.” In this deadly incident, a family of five and one friend crossed the Danziger Bridge when police officers of the New Orleans Police Department began shooting at the family without cause or warning. The injured woman, Susan Bartholomew, required amputation of her arm due to the severity of the sustained gunshot wounds.

Police violence continued with the murder and cover up of Henry Glover, who was shot by a police officer while he was trying to loot a shopping center. A friend who was with Glover at the time was able to transport the wounded Glover to a temporary police station. Instead of assisting with the injuries, the police officers drove Glover to an area of the levee where they set fire to the car, charring his body.

The police-related beating and murder of Raymond Robair was the only incident that took place before the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Officer Melvin Williams is currently serving 21 years in prison for Robair’s death. The families of the victims will receive closure in the amount of $13.3 million. The city plans to fund the costs of the settlement through loans.