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Tag: Katrina

New Orleans Cop Gets 6 1/2 Years in Infamous Danziger Bridge Incident

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, back in 2005,  came the waves of chaos and police misconduct including murder and coverups.

In New Orleans on Wednesday, former New Orleans cop Ignatius Hills was sentenced to 6 1/2 years  in prison for his role in helping officers cover up the infamous Danziger Bridge shootings  on Sept. 4, 2005, which resulted in two dead and four wounded, according to the  Justice Department.

Authorities said Hills had previously testified as a prosecution witness, which resulted in convictions of the five New Orleans cops in the Danziger Bridge shootings.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman rejected the Justice Department’s recommendation that Hills get four years. The Associated Press reported that Hills had been sufficiently rewarded for his cooperation.

In a related matter, U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Vance denied a government motion to reduce the eight-year sentence for former New Orleans cop Michael Hunter, who also pleaded guilty and cooperated with the government in the Danziger Bridge case, the Justice Department said.

 

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.”

FBI Shuts Down Bridge in Probe of Police Shootings in 2005

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

There were signs over the weekend that the FBI was still very actively probing the New Orleans police related shooting deaths six days after Katrina in 2005.

The New Orleans Times Picayune reports that the FBI shut down the infamous Danziger Bridge for several hours Saturday to scour for evidence where two men were killed and four others were wounded. Police were responding to shots fired at officers.

FBI spokeswoman Sheila Thorne confirmed to the newspaper that the evidence gathering mission was part of the civil rights probe into the shootings.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Looking into at Least 3 Cases Involving New Orleans Police Officers

new-orleans-police-badge

One of the great checks and balances of local power involves the FBI’s ability to investigate local police departments. Down in Cajun country, the FBI has its hands full.

By Laura Maggi
New Orleans Times-Picayune
NEW ORLEANS — The FBI is looking into at least three cases involving New Orleans police officers, a fact pointed out last week in a Fraternal Order of Police e-mail reminding officers of their right to consult attorneys before they are interviewed by agents.

Two of the cases stem from the days following Hurricane Katrina, including a recently begun FBI probe into possible police involvement in the case of a charred body found inside a burned car on an Algiers levee.

The FBI is looking into whether police committed a civil rights violation against the 31-year-old man whose remains were pulled out of the car in the weeks after the storm.

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