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Tag: Danziger Bridge

New Orleans Cops in Danziger Bridge Shooting Get Whacked at Sentencing

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A group of New Orleans cops convicted in connection with the shootings at the infamous Danziger Bridge got whacked at sentencing on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.

Four of the officers got sentences ranging from 38 to 65 years in prison. A fifth officer, who was just involved in the cover up, got six years, the Justice Department announced.

The sentencing capped an ugly chapter in New Orleans history.

Days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the cops were involved in the shootings of six civilians. Two of the civilians died.

“We hope that today’s sentences give a measure of peace and closure to the victims of this terrible shooting, who have suffered unspeakable pain and who have waited so patiently for justice to be done. The officers who shot innocent people on the bridge and then went to great lengths to cover up their own crimes have finally been held accountable for their actions,” Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez said in a statement. “As a result of today’s sentencing, the city of New Orleans can take another step forward.”

U.S. District Court Judge Kurt Englehardt the long sentences as follows:

  • Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, 40 years.
  • Sgt. Robert Gisevius, 40 years.
  • Officer Robert Faulcon, 65 years.
  • Officer Anthony Villavaso,38 years.
  • Sgt. Arthur “Archie” Kaufman, 6 years.

 

 

FBI Agent Says He Doubted N.O. Cops Cover Up Story in Danziger Bridge Shootings

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The ugly chapter in New Orleans history — the shootings at Danziger Bridge in 2005 — continued to play out in a federal court Monday, with an FBI agent testifying about why he doubted what police were saying. Two unarmed people were killed and four were injured in the Post-Katrina shooting.

FBI Agent William Bezak told a federal jury in New Orleans that he had doubts about police claims that they were being shot at by civilians because the cops never took cover, Reuters news service reported.

Reuters reported that the agent, who had investigated the shooting,  recalled watching news videos of the Sept. 4, 2005 shooting.

“They’re literally standing tall and shooting up the bridge,” Bezak recalled of the officers.

The trial for five officers charged with shooting unarmed civilians is in its fourth week.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-New Orleans Cop Gets 8 Years For Role in Danziger Bridge Shootings of Civilians

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former New Orleans cop Michael Hunter was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday for covering up and participating in the shootings on the infamous Danziger Bridge of unarmed citizens days after Katrina hit. Two civilians died and four were wounded.

In one of the more disgraceful chapters in the police department’s history, authorities said Hunter, 33, drove to the Danziger Bridge on Sept. 4, 2005, in a large Budget rental truck packed with officers responding to a radio call that said cops on the nearby I-10 bridge had come under fire.

The Justice Department said Hunter, who pleaded guilty in April, admitted that officers on the east side of the Danziger Bridge fired at civilians even though the civilians did not appear to have any weapons.

Hunter said one officer leaned over a concrete barrier, held out an assault rifle and, in a sweeping motion, fired repeatedly at the civilians, who were at that point lying wounded and apparently unarmed on the ground, according to the Justice Department press release.

Hunter also admitted firing his weapon repeatedly at civilians who were running away over the bridge. He admitted that he did not see the civilians carrying weapons and none appeared to pose a threat.

Hunter told authorities he was present when an officer shot and killed one of the citizens, Ronald Madison.

After the incident, Hunter admitted that he and other officers provided false statements about the incident.

Hunter, in a quivering voice, apologized to relatives in the courtroom, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Vance also offered condolences to the relatives of the victims and lambasted Hunter, the paper reported.

“It is hard to imagine a more profound breach of public trust than what happened here,” Vance told Hunter. She described the cover-up and coercion in the case as “appalling perversion” and shocking “savagery.”

Attys for New Orleans Cops to Meet With Justice to Discuss Death Penalty Issue

new-orleans-map-istockBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorneys for four current and ex-cops charged in the civilian Post-Katrina shootings on the Danziger Bridge will try and dissuade the Justice Department from seeking the death penalty, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The paper reports that attorneys are scheduled to meet with Justice Department officials Tuesday to discuss the matter.

It’s highly unusual for the feds to seek the death penalty against cops. The paper reports the only former cop on death row right now is a New Orleans officer Len Davis, “who ran a drug-protection racket in the mid-1990s and ordered the murder of a woman who filed a complaint to his superiors.”

To read more click here.

With Fed Indictments & Justice Dept. Intervention: Scandal-Plagued New Orleans Police Dept. at Crossroads

new-orleans-map-istock
By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In New Orleans, a town known for its jambalaya, jazz and hospitality, it hasn’t been difficult over the years to find folks willing to serve up some harsh words about their often-maligned and scandal-plagued police department.

That may change — even with the latest federal indictments for the shootings after Hurricane Katrina.

The Big Easy has a new mayor, Mitch Landrieu. The Justice Department — at his request — has stepped in to examine signs of systemic police misconduct. And a new police chief, Ronal Serpas, has been installed.

The department is at a crossroads. And the nation is watching a department in need of an extreme makeover.

Just this week, Americans got a glimpse of the department’s travails: The Justice Department announced the indictment of six New Orleans cops in the post-Katrina shootings of six unarmed people on Danziger Bridge, two of whom died. The charges come on top of decades of scandal: cops busted for drug trafficking, bribes, rape and murder.

To read full story click here

3 New Orleans Cops Plead Not Guilty in Post-Katrina Shootings on Danziger Bridge

6 More New Orleans Cops Indicted in Post-Katrina Shootings

new orleans police badgeBy Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The Justice Department Tuesday plucked more skeletons from the closet of the New Orleans Police Department, indicting six additional officers in the fatal shooting of two unarmed citizens and the wounding of four others in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The indictment is part of the Justice Department’s ongoing effort to expose police officers who either were involved in the Sept. 4, 2005, Danziger Bridge shootings or took part in covering them up. To date, five New Orleans officers have pleaded guilty to covering up the incident.

“Today’s indictment should serve as compelling evidence of our unswerving and unconditional commitment to … achieve true justice for any victims of the charged killings, shootings and abuse on the Danziger Bridge, and the alleged corrupt cover-up that followed,” U.S. Attorney Jim Letten of New Orleans said in a statement.

The indictment further aims “to restore the trust in the men and women of law enforcement who do serve the people and honor the badge; and to make certain that no one should ever have to fear those whose job it is to protect them,” he said.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Second New Orleans Cop — Who is Now an ICE Agent — Charged in Cover Up of 2005 Police Shootings

new-orleans-map-istock
Udate: Thursday 11:40 a.m. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Ex-Cop Jeffrey Lehrmann pleaded guilty this morning  to misprision of a felony (a charge for concealing a known felony), for failing to report a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the investigation of a police-involved shooting on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. To read press release click here.
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A second ex-New Orleans cop — who is now an agent with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona — has been federally charged with covering up the infamous Danziger Bridge police shootings in 2005 just after Hurricane Katrina that resulted in two deaths and four injuries, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The paper reported that Jeffrey Lehrmann, 38, was charged with misprision of a felony or failing to report a crime. He is expected to appear in U.S. District Court in New Orleans Thursday and is cooperating with federal authorities, the paper reported.

Lerhmann was not involved in the shootings, but was tasked with interviewing witnesses.

Last month, Lt. Michael Lohman pleaded guilty Feb. 24 to conspiring to obstruct justice. He too was involved in investigating the case and covering up the findings.

The New Orleans paper reported that authorities charged that “Lehrmann knew of the conspiracy among his fellow officers to obstruct justice and participated in the ‘creation of false reports and the provision of false information to investigating agents’.”

To read full story click here.