Homer, La. case
Bernard Monroe Sr., an elderly black man, was shot to death on his front porch by a white police officer who had entered his house in Homer, La., without apparent justification or a warrant. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a wrongful death lawsuit that alleged two white officers created a volatile situation when they entered Monroe’s property during a gathering of his family and friends on Feb. 20, 2009. A settlement agreement was reached with the town in August 2010.
The lawsuit named the town of Homer and two former police officers, Tim Cox and Joseph Henry, as defendants. It alleged the officers followed Monroe’s son – who was not wanted for any crime – into the family home. Monroe was shot multiple times as he walked toward the front door during the commotion to check on his elderly wife.
“Cox, who was inside the Monroes’ house at the time, unlawfully and repeatedly fired his gun through the screen door at Bernard Monroe Sr. while he was standing harmlessly on his own front porch,” the lawsuit says.
Witnesses told investigators that Monroe was unarmed and carrying only a sports drink bottle when he was shot without warning. Cox claimed Monroe was armed. The 73-year-old Monroe could not speak because he had lost his voice to cancer. A local grand jury of eight whites and four blacks, reporting on Feb. 4, 2010, decided not to issue criminal indictments against the officers.
The SPLC civil lawsuit, filed in state court in Claiborne Parish, sought damages for the wrongful death of the elder Monroe and the emotional distress suffered by family members. The town’s board of selectmen approved a settlement agreement. As part of the settlement, the SPLC agreed not to disclose the amount of the monetary damages, and the town did not admit liability.