Five New Orleans Police Officers Indicted in Post-Katrina Shooting, Burning

Posted on Jun 15, 2010 in Police, Military, & War

Source: NOLA.com, Huffington Post, NY Times, AP

Five New Orleans Police Officers Indicted

Hayden’s Note:

And to think I used to respect some of these guys… Glad I left when I did.  Katrina was a very chaotic time but killing people … risking your career, losing your integrity and going through life wondering when the indictments would be handed down, if ever … is simply amazing to me.  When I say the NOPD is the most rogue, motley crew to ever wear a badge and take an oath is a gross understatement.

Former New Orleans police Officer David Warren had claimed not to know if he hit anybody when he fired a shot with an assault rifle four days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall.

Given Mr. Warren’s award-winning marksmanship, his claim was never believable. Friday federal prosecutors accused the former officer of needlessly killing Henry Glover.

The 31-year-old Algiers man’s body was later found on a Mississippi River levee burned beyond recognition.

In announcing the indictments against Mr. Warren Friday, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten also announced indictments against two officers accused of setting Mr. Glover’s body on fire and two other officers accused of obstructing the investigation into Mr. Glover’s death. One can’t read the indictments without feeling outrage over what was done to Mr. Glover.

Nor can one read the charges without agonizing for the city of New Orleans, which deserves better police officers than the cold-blooded hoodlums the indictments describe.
New Orleans already had five police officers facing federal crimes related to the killing of innocents on the Danziger Bridge the Sunday after Katrina, and Mr. Letten said Friday that his investigation into violent police misconduct continues. New Orleanians wants bad officers exposed and removed from the force, though the process of exposing accused officers has been painful to endure.

“This has been a devastating time for our family and the citizens of this city,” Romell Madison said in March.

His brothers — Ronald and Lance — were crossing Danziger Bridge to make it to their brother’s dental practice. New Orleans police killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old with the mind of a child, and wrongly accused Lance Madison of trying to kill police officers.

Dr. Madison is right that it’s been a difficult time for the city, and there’s no reason to believe it will end soon. The FBI has confirmed that it’s investigating a total of eight cases of New Orleans police officers accused of attacking civilians. They’ve only brought charges in two, the Danziger case and the Henry Glover case.

Mr. Warren is charged with depriving Henry Glover of his civil rights and using a weapon to commit a crime of violence. Though David Warren had admitted firing in the direction of a man carrying something “he perceived to be a weapon,” the indictment against the former officer says “Glover’s death involved circumstances constituting murder.”

Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann and Officer Gregory McRae are accused of kicking and hitting Warren Tanner and Edward King, two men who brought the wounded Mr. Glover to police for medical attention.

The same two officers are accused of driving off in Mr. Tanner’s Chevrolet Malibu and torching both the car and Mr. Glover’s body.

How could anybody with a shred of human decency — police officer or otherwise — do that?

Former Lt. Robert Italiano and Lt. Travis McCabe are charged with obstructing a federal investigation by writing a false police report and making false statements to the FBI. Lt. McCabe is also accused of lying to a federal grand jury.

The Malibu ended up incinerated on the Algiers batture, amid heavy brush, behind the NOPD’s 4th District station and a U.S. Border Patrol office. Mr. Glover’s burned remains were recovered weeks later.

His mother, Edna, filed a missing-person report on Nov. 16, 2005, at the 4th District station, just yards from where the Malibu sat.. Weeks after she made the complaint, the department filed a report on Mr. Warren’s Sept. 2 shooting. The discharge of the weapon was deemed justified by high-ranking supervisors.

It was good to hear Mr. Letten say Friday that the chaos in the days after Katrina was no excuse for officers attacking civilians. “Law enforcement officers, NOPD, under the harshest conditions imaginable are there, especially under high stress, to serve and protect the citizens,” Mr. Letten said.

“It is their sacred and sworn duty to protect citizens from abuse and not subject them to abuse. Certainly not to kill them. Certainly not to destroy evidence.”

And yet, we now have 10 officers accused of forsaking that solemn duty and turning against those they were in a position to help.

Partial Story from the Huffington Post:

Italiano and McCabe are charged with obstruction of justice for their alleged roles in submitting false reports of the incident and lying to investigators. Italiano, if convicted, faces a maximum prison sentence of 25 years and a $500,000 fine. If convicted, McCabe could get 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

Following announcement of the indictment, Letten said the five have a duty to the public, “certainly not to kill them, certainly not to destroy evidence.”

At a brief initial appearance hearing, U.S. Magistrate Louis Moore ordered Warren jailed until an arraignment and detention hearing on Thursday. Warren did not enter a plea Friday. His attorney, Joseph Albe, said he could not comment.

Letten said he could not comment on who was representing the other defendants. Their attorneys had not been posted in the court record Friday.

The case is one of several civil rights investigations involving actions of the New Orleans Police Department after Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, 2005, plunging the city into flooding and civil chaos after levees broke.

A civil suit was filed Tuesday in federal court against Warren, McRae and Schueremann by Charlene Green, who says she is the mother of Glover’s son, Henry Glover Jr. Although the suit claims that Glover was the victim of civil rights violations, it does not detail what allegedly happened. Green’s attorney, Dwight Norton, did not return a call for comment Friday.

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