Wow… They are finally getting around to the Danziger Bridge murders, which conservative “News” hyped as “wild gangs of blacks shooting at rescuers” or a “shootout”…
Now the truth.
Turns out it wasn’t the citizens who were rioting.
Six current or former police officers were charged in connection with shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the days afterHurricane Katrina that left two dead and four wounded, federal law enforcement officials announced here on Tuesday.
The charges allege that after the shootings, police supervisors engaged in a blatant cover-up of crimes that included the strafing of unarmed civilians and the slaying of a mentally disabled man. The case is one of several that have led Mayor Mitch Landrieu to seek a Justice Department review of the city’s police department.
Four of the officers charged Tuesday — Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, Sgt. Robert Gisevius Officer Anthony Villavaso and former officer Robert Faulcon — were accused in the killing of a 17-year-old James Brissette. Mr. Faulcon was also charged with shooting Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, in the back, and Sergeant Bowen with kicking and stomping Mr. Madison while he was dying on the ground.
All of the officers could possibly face the death penalty.
The four police officers along with two supervisors, Sgt. Arthur Kaufman and former Sgt. Gerard Dugue, two longtime homicide detectives investigating the shootings for the Police Department, were also charged with obstruction of justice in what officials described as an elaborate and in places blatantly false cover-up story.
The charges were announced at a news conference attended by Eric H. Holder Jr., the attorney general; Tom Perez, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division; Jim Letten, the United States attorney in New Orleans; and several federal prosecutors and F.B.I. officials.
The officers charged in Mr. Brissette’s death are in custody, federal officials said.
Five other police officers have already been charged in connection with the killings on the Danziger Bridge on Sept. 4, 2005, when much of the city was still underwater. The first charge came in February, when Lt. Michael J. Lohman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to obstruct justice.
Four more officers and a civilian have pleaded guilty since then to charges of obstructing justice and covering up a felony.
Last month, five police officers were indicted in connection with the murder of Henry Glover, 31, who was shot to death in the Algiers neighborhood in the days just after Katrina and whose body was later found in a burned car behind a police station.
The police force is the subject of eight federal investigations, some of them for actions years after Katrina.
In early May, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, on his third day in office, formally asked the Department of Justice to conduct the full-scale review of the department, a process that often ends in a consent decree, a binding agreement for systemic reform.
Justice Department officials, who had been discussing such a possibility with the mayor before the formal request, announced shortly afterward that they were beginning the wide-ranging investigation.