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Wrongful Death Settlement in Police Shooting Case

The town of Homer has agreed to settle a wrongful death suit and pay a total of $125,000 to the family of a man shot and killed in his home by two police officers last February. The death of 73-year-old Bernard Monroe Sr. had created national news and some unrest in and around Homer and Claiborne Parish as accusations were made about discriminatory police actions and possible racial bias in making arrests.

The shooting at issue occurred in February of 2009. According to reports, Bernard Monroe was sitting on his porch with several friends and relatives when two police officers arrived at his home. The officers allegedly made small talk until Monroe’s son, Shaun Monroe, pulled into the driveway. The younger Monroe had a criminal record, but did not have any warrants out for his arrest at the time. When police called out his name, he ran into the house.

The police pursued Shaun Monroe and eventually subdued him with a taser. One of the officers had run through Monroe’s house and made his way toward the front screen door. While still inside Monroe’s house, one of the officers claims he saw Bernard Monroe approaching with a pistol. The officer fired his weapon several times under his belief that Monroe was aiming the pistol at him. According to witnesses, Monroe had only a water bottle in his hand. Several witnesses claimed that one of the officers placed a gun at Monroe’s side after the shooting.

In January, a grand jury declined to indict the two police officers in the shooting. The wrongful death action was brought with the assistance of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The family claimed that the actions of police officers were unreasonable and created a volatile situation that ultimately resulted in Bernard Monroe’s death.

The settlement will be paid in installments with $50,000 due this year and three installments of $25,000 due each of the next three years. In their suit, the family had asked for compensation for loss of financial and emotional support, emotional distress, and funeral expenses.

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