City, ex-chief reach settlement over rescinded job offer

August 31, 2022 GMT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against the city of New Orleans filed by a former police chief who said Mayor LaToya Cantrell rescinded a job offer to him as she prepared to take office in 2018.

News outlets in New Orleans report that the terms of the settlement with ex-chief Warren Riley were not disclosed. Riley had sought $700,000 in damages.

Riley had been the city’s top police official from September 2005 until May 2010, taking over soon after levee failures during Hurricane Katrina caused catastrophic flooding.

His suit said Cantrell had tapped him to become her administration’s director of public safety and homeland security for an annual salary of $180,000. Riley said he quit a $170,000-a-year job with FEMA when Cantrell pulled back her offer. He is now director of campus police at Delgado Community College in New Orleans.

Cantrell’s decision came after community activists harshly criticized the choice. When Riley stepped down as police chief in 2010 at the end of Mayor Ray Nagin’s last term, he left a department facing several federal investigations, including several fatal shootings after Katrina. The U.S. Justice Department later issued a harshly critical report on the police department, leading to court ordered reforms of policy and practices encompassing use of force, unbiased policing and other issues.