Aug. 30, 2010
Southern Poverty Law Center
Morris Dees, Founder
I'm proud to tell you that we've settled the lawsuit we filed on behalf of Louise Marie Monroe, the widow of a black man who was shot to death by a police officer in Homer, Louisiana.
Earlier this year, we filed a civil suit against the town of Homer, seeking damages for the wrongful death of Bernard Monroe. The 73-year-old retiree was enjoying a family reunion on Feb. 20, 2009, when two white police officers came onto his property. Our suit claimed that the police officers created a volatile situation when they chased Mr. Monroe's son into the family home and shot the young man in the back with a Taser gun.
During the commotion, Mr. Monroe went to check on Louise Marie, his wife of 49 years. As he was climbing his porch stairs, one of the police officers in his home shot him several times through the screen door. Because he had lost his voice to cancer, Mr. Monroe was unable to call out during the incident. The officers said they thought he had a gun; several witnesses said he did not.
Morris Dees and Bernard Monroe's widow, Louise Marie
The settlement will allow Bernard Monroe's family and the town of Homer to move forward from this terrible tragedy. The town's attorney, Jim Colvin, agrees that the settlement will help heal the community. "The town needs an opportunity to recover from this unfortunate event. This settlement is a key step in that healing process."
Because of the nature of the settlement, I'm not allowed to disclose the amount of the monetary damages, and the town did not admit liability. Both officers have left the police department.
One of Mr. Monroe's family members told me how grateful they all were for the SPLC's help, saying that "everyone we met at the Center was kind and considerate" and that the attorneys were "real people who cared about our family."
But we could never have won justice for Mr. Monroe's widow and family without your support. As you may know, the SPLC takes no portion of the damages we win for our clients. Your dedication to fighting injustice and intolerance enables us to take on cases like this. Please accept my personal thanks for standing with us in this important case and all the other work we do.
Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center