$13.3M settlement in Katrina police shootings
NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans' mayor has announced $13.3 million in settlements of lawsuits over deadly police shootings after Hurricane Katrina and a fatal beating just before the 2005 storm.
At a Monday afternoon news conference, Mayor Mitch Landrieu also apologized to the victims' families and said he hopes their forgiveness will help the city find peace in the future.
Landrieu said the settlements are with 17 plaintiffs.
A spokeswoman for the mayor's office says the settlements resolve lawsuits over the deaths of three people who were killed in two separate police shootings after the 2005 hurricane and a fourth person who was fatally beaten by an officer shortly before the storm struck.
A total of 20 New Orleans police officers were charged in a series of Justice Department civil rights investigations following Katrina.
The mother of a teen killed during the shootings says she "wholeheartedly" accepts the mayor's apology for his death.
Sherrel Johnson is the mother of 17-year-old James Brissette, who died in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge.
At the news conference, Johnson thanked Landrieu for issuing the apology. She said, "Now this is closure for me."
Johnson was one of several members of the victims' families who attended the news conference.