Cops could face death in post-Katrina shootings
2010 07 14

By Michael Kunzelman | FloridaToday.com


Four New Orleans police officers could face the death penalty after being accused of gunning down two unarmed people in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the latest twist for a corruption-plagued department that already faces several federal investigations.

The four officers were charged along with two others in a 27-count indictment unsealed Tuesday.


The indictment charges Sgts. Robert Gisevius and Kenneth Bowen, officer Anthony Villavaso and former officer Robert Faulcon with deprivation of rights under color of law and use of a weapon during the commission of a crime. They could face the death penalty if convicted, though U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said prosecutors haven’t decided whether to seek that punishment.


Five former New Orleans police officers already have pleaded guilty to helping cover up the shootings on the Danziger Bridge that left two men dead and four wounded just days after the August 2005 hurricane that devastated the city. In one instance, a mentally disabled man was allegedly shot in the back and stomped before he died.


Prosecutors say officers fabricated witness statements, falsified reports and planted a gun in an attempt to make it appear the shootings were justified. It was a shocking example of the violence and confusion that followed the deadly hurricane.


The case is one of several probes of alleged misconduct by New Orleans police officers that the Justice Department opened after the storm. Last month, five current or former officers were charged in the shooting death of 31-year-old Henry Glover, whose burned body turned up after Katrina.


With 80 percent of New Orleans underwater, officers from a department with a history of corruption were forced to battle rampant crime, and some became criminals themselves. Dozens of officers were fired or suspended for abandoning their posts.


In the bridge shooting case, seven officers were charged with murder or attempted murder in December 2006 but a state judge threw out all the charges in August 2008. Federal authorities then stepped in a month later to launch their own investigation.

So far, five former New Orleans police officers have pleaded guilty to lesser charges of helping cover up the shootings on the Danziger Bridge and await sentencing.


The latest indictments come shortly after the city’s new mayor replaced its former police chief and invited a Justice Department team to overhaul the police department.


Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department is working with city officials to restore residents’ trust in the police department.


"Put simply, we will not tolerate wrongdoing by those who are sworn to protect the public," Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday in New Orleans.


Sgt. Arthur Kaufman and retired Sgt. Gerard Dugue, who helped investigate the shootings, were charged with participating in a cover-up to make it appear the shootings were justified. Charges against them include obstruction of justice.

Read the full article at: FloridaToday.com


In this Sept. 4, 2005 file photo, an unidentified police officer turns the body of a man killed by police on Chef Menteur at the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. Four New Orleans police officers could face the death penalty after being accused of gunning down two unarmed people at the bridge in August, 2005, during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/Times PicayuneAlex Brandon)







Related Articles
Cop in post-Katrina beating of teacher can get job back, appeals court rules
Ex-cop pleads guilty in Katrina shootings
G20 No-name officers investigated
Amy Miller: Toronto Police at G20 Threatened us with Rape and Strip Searches
Family hit by G20 raid say police overreached


Latest News from our Front Page

CIA torture is reason for France to exit NATO – Le Pen
2014-12-17 20:20
The shocking revelations of CIA torture techniques give France a reason to exit NATO, National Front party leader Marine Le Pen said on Saturday. The report on the CIA’s former interrogation practices has drawn wide criticism since its release. “If indeed everyone is outraged by the tortures used by the US then, let’s leave NATO,” Le Pen said during an interview ...
900 Documented Examples of Obama's Lawbreaking, Lying, Corruption, Cronyism, Hypocrisy & Waste
2014-12-17 20:00
By Tim Brown from sonsoflibertymedia.com: Our friend, Dan from Squirrel Hill, has updated his list to 900 documented examples of Barack Obama¡¯s lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, etc. He began with 252 examples, then quickly grew to 504 and later to 694. Recently, he added more than 200 more examples of the usurper-in-chief¡¯s unlawful acts. Every President, every politician, and every human ...
A Step Closer to the Mysterious Origin of the Viking Sword Ulfberht
2014 12 16
The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In "Beyond Science" Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide. Ulfberht was like a Medieval luxury brand for swords—but unlike your Gucci purse, the swords were of such high quality they were almost ...
Israel proposes natural gas pipeline to Southern Europe
2014-12-16 12:39
Israel is pushing for the European Union (EU) to approve the construction of a pipeline running from the Middle Eastern country to supply Cyprus, Greece and Italy with natural gas. The proposed EastMed pipeline will carry gas from the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields located in the Mediterranean Sea, to Southern Europe. As the Times of Israel reported in an ...
As Robots Grow Smarter, American Workers Struggle to Keep Up
2014 12 16
A machine that administers sedatives recently began treating patients at a Seattle hospital. At a Silicon Valley hotel, a bellhop robot delivers items to people’s rooms. Last spring, a software algorithm wrote a breaking news article about an earthquake that The Los Angeles Times published. Although fears that technology will displace jobs are at least as old as the Luddites, there ...
More News »