Thursday, April 05, 2012

Five New Orleans officers sentenced to long prison sentences in Katrina shootings

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Punctuating what New Orleans' mayor called a "dark chapter" in his city's history, five former local police officers were sentenced Wednesday for their role in the Danziger Bridge shooting incident, which left two innocent people dead and four others seriously wounded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Court Judge Kurt Engelhardt handed down long sentences for four of the officers, ranging from 38 to 65 years in prison. The fifth, former Sgt. Arthur Kaufman -- who was not involved in the shootings, but was involved in an attempted cover-up -- received six years.

The Danziger case was the most notorious of several instances of violent police misconduct in the days after Hurricane Katrina, when great swaths of the city were flooded, looters roamed the streets, and many public services, including the Police Department, were in dramatic disarray.

In August, after a six-week trial, a jury found the former officers of the New Orleans Police Department guilty of federal civil rights and obstruction of justice statutes.

They were part of a group that rushed toward the bridge Sept. 4, 2005, in response to a radio call that fellow officers were under fire.

Prosecutors alleged that Sgts. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius, and officers Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso, arrived on the bridge and fired on an unarmed family walking in search of food and supplies, killing a 17-year-old family friend, James Brissette, and wounding four others.

Minutes later, police shot at two brothers, Lance and Ronald Madison. Faulcon, witnesses said, shot the mentally disabled Ronald Madison in the back as he ran away. Bowen allegedly stomped and kicked him before he died.

As part of the cover-up, Lance Madison was falsely charged with eight counts of attempting to kill police officers, and was held in jail for three weeks. The Justice Department subsequently launched a sweeping investigation of the New Orleans Police Department, determining that its officers often "show a lack of respect for the civil rights and dignity" of the people they serve.

Justice Department and city officials are currently hammering out the details of a consent decree to allow federal oversight of the long-troubled department. On Wednesday, the sentencings gave federal officials a chance to remind local police that future malfeasance would not be tolerated.

“My hope as we move forward is that the men and women of NOPD and all law enforcement will conduct themselves always in a manner that will withstand the scrutiny of the bright light of justice,” said David Welker, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans Division, in a statement.

The sentences came after the judge heard from shooting victims, including Jose Holmes Jr., who had his attorney, Gary Bizal, read a statement directed at the disgraced police.

"For you to have shot an unarmed innocent person should make you feel guilty and ashamed," Holmes wrote, according to the statement, which Bizal provided to the Los Angeles Times. "I have you to blame for all of my scars, depression and embarrassment of having to wear a colostomy bag.... But when it's all said and done I'm a loving person, so I have to forgive you for what you've done to me because God forbids me to have hatred in my heart."

Though Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the sentencings brought "significant closure," Bizal noted that the officers will probably appeal; that another suspect, former NOPD Sgt. Gerard Dugue, still faces trial; and that civil rights lawsuits filed by the victims in federal civil court will have to be resolved once the criminal cases are over.

For the record, 8:05 p.m. April 4: A previous version of this post misspelled the names of U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt and former New Orleans Police Sgt. Arthur Kaufman.


Anonymous said...

ANARCHY they should get a pass. How many snipers were shooting at cops??

Anonymous said...

"The Justice Department subsequently launched a sweeping investigation of the New Orleans Police Department, determining that its officers often show a lack of respect for the civil rights and dignity of the lawless animals they serve"

Anonymous said...

These cops were only doing their job when on September 4, 2005 they encountered a bunch of crazed pavement apes wanting to cross the Danziger Bridge in the Gentilly are of Nig Orleans. The cops told the jigs to back off, and when the jigs refused their commands and kept approaching the cops opened fire. Remember that gunfire from the Negroes was rampant after the storm hit, and the niggers were shooting at everything and anything. These particular niggers, however were unarmed, but the cops did not know that. All they knew was that the jigs ignored their lawful directive to stay put.

Unfortunately, the cops panicked. Instead of admitting that they mistook the darkies for armed niggers under the pressures of the situation, they covered up their actions which attracted the attention of the Feds.

Instead of doing the right thing and give these cops a medal or at the very worst, charge them with littering the streets with dead worthless niggers, the Justice Department started a full-blown investigation and prosecution which lead to the conviction of the cops for serious federal crimes.

Let this be a lesson to all law enforcement personnel. AVOID THE GROID!!!. If only niggers are involved, stay away. Don't lift a finger. Let the jigs die or kill each other and only then go in and mop up. It is not worth being placed in a situation where your life or liberty is at risk to help a bunch of savage ungrateful coons.

Anonymous said...

If niggers hadnt been involved this wouldnt be happening.

I Voted For Obama said...

Too sad for my usual stupid Obama comment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANARCHY they should get a pass. How many snipers were shooting at cops??

Good idea. I guess you also saying that if you're a citizen in a situation like this you should be proactive and snipe all the cops you can, just in case one of these police are ones that can't deal with "ANARCHY".

Holy shit are you dumb MF.

Anonymous said...

What cops??The ones looting or fled and left their post,did not perform their duty.

Anonymous said...

Son of a BITCH!

you mean we CANT randomly gun down niggers ?


Thanks Assholes.

Anonymous said...

If you can shoot em you can see em idiot. You mean to tell me they couldn't see they were unarmed? Stop makin excuses for these pussys. If they can't handle the job get off the job. I hate niggers too but the whole situation was fubar from go. They just made it worse covering it up. Hell a rookie Chicago cop has enough sense to put something on em after blowing em away.

Anonymous said...

Shooting niggers without a hunting license should be a simple fine, certainly no jail time.

tucsonbob said...

"The Danziger Bridge incident"? Didn't that happen in Germany during World War II ?

Anonymous said...

I think they will win an Appeal!

Briskman & Briskman

Anonymous said...

The cops had their guns out and the colored charged them.

Anonymous said...

A bunch of lootin' Katrina Koons are not worth all this fuss. Fine the cops $100 per off-season nigger pelt and move on.