New Orleans Police Chief Warren Riley responds to confession by New Orleans Police officer that he covered up the murders of 2 innocent people, and shooting of 4 others on the Danizger Bridge by New Orleans Police. This was one incident of a number of murders committed by the police and other parties in the immediate aftermath of Katrina which, in this case has taken 4 1/2 years to wind their way through the courts.
A veteran New Orleans police officer pleaded guilty yesterday to orchestrating an elaborate cover-up of a shooting in the days after Katrina in which police gunned down six unarmed city residents, killing two and seriously wounding four.
The development — which the Times-Picayune calls a “potentially devastating blow” to other officers linked to the case — is the first plea in a wide-ranging federal probe of several post-Katrina police shootings. The Feds are reportedly looking at possible crimes in both the shootings themselves as well as the subsequent investigations.
The Danziger Bridge shootings occurred on Sept. 4, 2005, just six days after Katrina hit. The victims were reportedly stranded on a part of Chef Menteur highway that was surrounded by flooding; the police involved were working out of a temporary station at a reception hall nearby.
In federal court Wednesday, former Lt. Michael Lohman plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in the incident. He arrived on the bridge after a group of officers had opened fire at two groups of unarmed citizens, leaving Ronald Madison, a mentally disabled 40-year old man, dead from six gunshot wounds, and James Brissette, 19, dead from seven gunshot wounds.
In charge of supervising the police investigation, Lohman drafted a bogus 17-page report on the incident, and helped other officers prepare false reports that would agree on a single narrative. When another investigator planted a handgun at the scene, Lohman questioned him to make sure it was “clean.”
Lohman admitted “he knew that the civilians on the bridge had not actually possessed guns, and he knew that the investigator had also falsified statements by the civilians,” according to the government’s press release. (more…)