The mayor of New Orleans announced Monday that the city has reached settlements totaling $13.3 million in lawsuits over deadly police shootings after Hurricane Katrina and a fatal beating just before the 2005 storm, and he apologized to the victims' families on behalf of the city.
"I am hoping that in some sense the strength of these families will help the city find peace in our future," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said at an afternoon news conference after a private prayer service attended by some relatives of the victims.
Landrieu said the settlements with 17 plaintiffs end all civil litigation involving those cases. It took more than 11 years because criminal cases had to be dealt with first, he said.
Sherrel Johnson, the mother of 17-year-old James Brissette, who died in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge, was among the victims' relatives on hand for Landrieu's announcement. She said she "wholeheartedly" accepts his apology.