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“Cops have already killed 550 people in 2015,” prompting the response, "If they're black, it doesn't count."
-- December 2015 texts discovered on the phones of Santa Clara Sheriff Deputies.
Top News Stories!
Posted: Wed. April 20, 2016 3:07pm EDT ~ Updated: Thurs. Sep 8Apr. 21, 2016 8:07pm PDT
They Don't Count!
Metairie, LA -- Former NOPD Officers Sgt. Arthur “Archie” Kaufman (pictured above, center), Robert Faulcon, Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in New Orleans. The five former New Orleans police officers were involved in a fatal shooting spree on the Danziger Bridge. Almost three years ago U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt threw out their earlier convictions. Engelhardt in September 2013 found “grotesque prosecutorial misconduct” following an investigation into the online postings of senior federal prosecutors. He said [the] “grotesque prosecutorial misconduct” warranted a new trial for the five men. A federal appeals court upheld his ruling in August. The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused this year to reconsider it.
The pleas came 11 years after a band of cops rolled up to the Danzinger bridge in a commandeered U-Haul truck. They were responding to a report of “officers down” and a loose description of a suspect. They proceeded to fire a barrage of bullets from their service revolvers and personal firearms at a group of fleeing people. They then falsely attested that those people were armed. The jury heard this at their 2011 trial.
The plea deals bring an end to a criminal prosecution that has stretched on for years. A one-minute burst of violence in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A much longer audacious cover-up followed the murders. The cover-up came to symbolize the chaos and government negligence that trailed Katrina. It has left a lasting stain on the New Orleans Police Department.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt agreed to accept the plea deals. The judge said an endorsement from the victims’ families weighed heavily in his decision to accept the plea deals (including the shorter prison terms). He promptly sentenced the five men before a courtroom packed with the families of the officers and their victims.
The five former cops appeared in Court. Four of the officers were in jail garb. They each repeated “Yes, your honor” in affirming their guilty pleas Wednesday. In most federal criminal cases, defendants sign “factual basis” in court for the guilty plea(s). The "factual basis" spells out their admissions of guilt. Engelhardt said the transcript of the 2011 trial of the five men would suffice (even though their convictions in that trial were set aside).
Bowen, Faulcon, Gisevius and Villavoso each pleaded guilty to depriving the innocent shooting victims of their rights under color of law; obstruction of justice; and conspiracy to obstruct justice. They each faced a maximum life prison term. Kaufman was accused of orchestrating the cover-up of the Sept. 4, 2005 shooting episode that left 17-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison dead. Four others were injured. Kaufman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and falsifying evidence to obstruct justice.
They accepted steeply reduced prison terms to avoid a new trial. Former officer Robert Faulcon was originally sentenced to a 65-year prison term. He received 12 years under the new deal. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius accepted 10-year terms, down from 40 years apiece. Anthony Villavaso had been sentenced to 38 years. He received seven years under the deal. Villavaso is now set to be released within weeks because of the time he has already served.
Kaufman had his sentence halved from six to three years. Kaufman spent about 16 months in jail. He was released and has remained free pending the new trial. Engelhardt ordered him to report to prison by June 27, 2016. Engelhardt will consider Kaufman’s request to do the remainder of his time on home confinement due to health issues. Kaufman declined to comment to a reporter after the hearing. He said: “I have nothing. It’s like a blank slate in my head.”
Kaufman was a homicide detective. He was accused of stage-managing a group whitewash. This included a failure to collect any evidence. It also included the planting of a “clean” gun and the creation of a false report. The report included invented testimony from made-up witnesses. The report supported the idea that Lance Madison, one of the civilians killed on the bridge, had tossed a gun into the canal. Madison's brother was accused of trying to kill the officers.
At a news conference at U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite’s office, Madison brother added: “Still today, almost 11 years later, my family and I continue to suffer. And while these police officers will still have time to serve in prison, it will never be enough for what they did.”
The new sentences are not significantly different from those given to the five cops who opted to cooperate with the government. Several other officers pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution about the firing spree. Those officers received sentences ranging from two years to eight years. Negotiations between the government and attorneys for the five former officers heated up in recent weeks. Sources familiar with the negotiations said the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division backed away from the case amid new pressure from Engelhardt. This was after what Engelhardt described as “unsettling and unresolved” questions stemming from the online-commenting scandal.
The main remaining loose end in the Danziger saga is the case pending against former NOPD Sgt. Gerard Dugue. He was charged with abetting the cover-up. Dugue was tried separately from the other officers in 2012. Engelhardt called a mistrial in that case after a prosecutor mentioned an unrelated case that was supposed to be off-limits. The government has not sought to retry the case. Attempts to reach Dugue’s lawyer on Wednesday were unsuccessful. U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite’s office declined to comment on the status of that case.
Posted: Mon Sep 8, 2014 3:07pm EDT ~ Updated: Mon Sep 8, 2014 3:07pm EDT
Texarkana, Texas -- Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reported to federal prison on Monday to begin serving a 10-year sentence for corruption committed during the years when the city was struggling to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
Nagin, 58, will be housed at a minimum security satellite camp of a federal prison in Texarkana, Texas, a Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman said.
The former Democratic mayor, who plans to appeal his conviction, was thrust into the national spotlight in 2005 when Katrina overwhelmed levees and flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, killing 1,500 people and causing some $80 billion in damage.
He was convicted in February on 20 criminal counts including bribery, conspiracy and money laundering, all tied to payments he received for granting city contracts during the recovery effort.
The prison camp where he will serve his sentence has 297 inmates who live in dormitory-style lodgings, according Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke.
Lou Pearlman, a music mogul who launched the boy bands Backstreet Boys and NSYNC and was convicted in 2008 for orchestrating phony bank and investment schemes, was housed there until last month, Burke said.
Under federal sentencing rules, Nagin would serve about 8-1/2 years in prison with good behavior.
The onetime cable company executive served as New Orleans' mayor from 2002 to 2010. He has said in court filings that he is nearly penniless, and has been granted a court-appointed lawyer for his planned appeal.
Seeking re-election in 2006, Nagin, a black politician who had enjoyed strong support from both black and white voters, seemed to adopt a racially divisive tone, urging residents to rebuild a "chocolate New Orleans," referring to its majority black population.
Posted: July 09, 2014 at 10:15 AM ~ Updated: August 06, 2014 at 10:34 AM
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison.
Nagin, 58, the two-term mayor who was the face of the city during Hurricane Katrina, joins a list of Louisiana elected officials convicted of misdeeds. He is New Orleans' first mayor to be convicted and sent to prison for public corruption.
Nagin is set to report to prison on Sept. 8. He could serve his term at a minimum security federal detention center in Oakdale, a city in central Louisiana.
U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan handed down the sentence in a packed courtroom five months after a jury convicted Nagin on 20 of 21 counts of bribery, wire fraud, tax evasion and other charges. She said the seriousness of his crimes could not be overstated, but said he was not the leader of a conspiracy and she felt it just to sentence him below the range called for in federal sentencing guidelines.
Nagin spoke briefly.
"The only thing I want to say is I want to thank you and your staff for the professionalism that you provided," Nagin told the judge during the brief hearing. "As far as my role in this, we stand by the testimonies already presented."
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Nagin was facing 20 or more years in prison.
Shortly after Berrigan took the bench, she made clear her intentions to dip below the guideline range.
"I must impose a sentence that I feel is sufficient but not greater than necessary," she said.
Nagin was not the leader of the conspiracy, she said, and he didn't coerce other participants -- city vendors and a top Nagin City Hall official who took plea deals and cooperated with prosecutors -- in the illegal schemes. She described co-conspirators Greg Meffert, the chief technology officer under Nagin, and businessman Frank Fradella as making first moves in some interactions. And, she noted, Nagin shared a much smaller share of the "profits" from the schemes.
But, she added, "the seriousness of Mr. Nagin's offenses can hardly be overstated."
"Nowhere is this more harmful than the city of New Orleans where the perception of public corruption stubbornly persists," the judge said.
During trial, prosecutors in U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite's office called Nagin a mayor "on the take." He sold his office, they told the jury, for personal gain, which included lavish trips, cash and granite for his sons business, Stone Age LLC.
The 10-year term matches that handed down to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, who was convicted of corruption in 2000. It is less than the 13 years former Rep. William Jefferson got in his corruption case.
Notably, Nagin got a shorter term than the 17 years handed down to Fradella, the former CEO of disaster management firm Home Solutions of America who was convicted of conspiring to bribe Nagin with trips, cash and truckloads of granite. A different judge presided over Fradella's case.
Nagin and his defense lawyers left the federal courthouse without speaking to the crush of reporters who followed them out. Nagin's wife, Seletha Nagin, joined him for sentencing, as she did every day during the two-week trial.
Citing Nagin's inability to pay fines, the judge ordered Nagin to pay about $84,000 in restitution to the IRS.
Posted: 7:28 PM EST, Wed February 12, 2014 - Updated 3:08 AM PST, Wed March 5, 2014
New Orleans, LA -- Ray Nagin came into the mayor's office in New Orleans as an avowed scourge of corruption and led the city through the worst disaster of its modern history. He left a federal courthouse a convict Wednesday, after a jury found him guilty of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and other favors from businessmen looking for a break from his administration. Of the 21 counts against him, he was convicted of 20. Nagin, who left office in 2010, had little to say as he left the courthouse Wednesday afternoon, telling reporters only, "I maintain my innocence." A small knot of supporters yelled, "Keep your head up" and "He's just a patsy," media affiliates reported. His lead attorney told reporters his client would appeal the verdict. "We did the best we could do," the attorney said.
A January 2013 indictment detailed more than $200,000 in bribes to the mayor, and his family members allegedly received a vacation in Hawaii; first-class airfare to Jamaica; private jet travel and a limousine for New York City; and cellular phone service. In exchange, businesses that coughed up for Nagin and his family won more than $5 million in city contracts, according to the January 2013 indictment. Prosecutors argued the 57-year-old Nagin was at the center of a kickback scheme in which he received checks, cash, wire transfers, personal services and free travel from businessmen seeking contracts and favorable treatment from the city. He faces up to 20 years in prison, but an attorney said a 14- to 17-year term was more likely.
The earliest of the charges date from before Katrina, which struck when Nagin had been in office for about three years. The hurricane flooded more than three-fourths of low-lying New Orleans and left more than 1,800 dead across the region -- most of them in Louisiana. Supporters credited Nagin's sometimes-profane demands for aid from Washington with helping reveal the botched federal response to the storm -- a fiasco that embarrassed the George W. Bush administration and led to billions of federal dollars being poured into Gulf Coast reconstruction efforts. Nagin also had his detractors: One attorney called his performance during the storm "a meltdown," a congressional committee criticized him for delaying evacuation orders, and his frantic description of post-storm New Orleans as a violent wasteland with up to 10,000 dead turned out to be greatly exaggerated.
During the two-week trial, prosecutors brought to the stand a string of businessmen who had already pleaded guilty to bribing Nagin. The defense did little to challenge their stories, an attorney said. "It was too painful actually to watch. They just swamped him," he said. When Nagin took the stand in his own defense, "He did a belly flop," often answering questions on cross-examination by saying he couldn't recall who paid for a trip or perk. "He just looked terrible," one attorney said.
"He got a lot of media attention as being a reformer, a non-politician, first run for office -- a businessman who was going to come in and get it right," said a veteran New Orleans lawyer and no fan of the former two-term mayor. After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005, the onetime cable television executive would reassure people queasy about sending taxpayer money to a state with an epic history of corruption by telling them, "Google me. You're not going to find any of that in my record," the attorney said, quoting Nagin. "Well, Google him now."
As he sought re-election in 2006, with much of the city's African-American population displaced by storm damage, Nagin was blasted for insisting that New Orleans would remain a "chocolate" city. Nagin won a second term despite the controversies, but left office with his approval ratings in the cellar and told media sources his career in public office was over. "I have given my pound of flesh," he said.
Nagin sought to have the charges dismissed in October after another federal judge blasted what he called the "grotesque" misconduct of prosecutors in the post-Katrina shootings of unarmed civilians by police at the Danziger Bridge. The judge tossed out the convictions of five cashiered cops after ruling that members of the U.S. attorney's office tainted their 2011 trial by anonymously posting "egregious and inflammatory" comments at online news sites. Nagin argued that he was the target of the same underground effort, citing "a continuum of pejorative statements and demeaning racial epithets" aimed at him. The U.S. attorney's office said none of the prosecutors involved in the Danziger Bridge case played a role in the Nagin investigation.
"The only good nigger is a dead nigger and they should hang you in the town square to prevent any other nigger from coming in the area."
-- July 2011 Statement by Oakland Public Schools Police Chief Pete Sarna, referring to an African-American police officer.
The King's Henchmen!
Memphis, Tenn. -- Loyd Jowers (November 20, 1926 – May 20, 2000; pictured right) was the owner of a restaurant (Jim's Grill) near the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. In December 1993, Jowers appeared on Live Television and related the details of an alleged conspiracy involving the Mafia and the U.S. government to kill King. According to Jowers, James Earl Ray was a scapegoat, and not involved in the assassination. Jowers believed that Memphis police officer Lieutenant Earl Clark fired the fatal shots.
In 1998, the King family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jowers and "other unknown co-conspirators" for the murder of King. A Memphis jury found Jowers responsible on December 8, 1999, and that the assassination plot contained also "governmental agencies." At a 1999 press conference following the verdict, Coretta Scott King stated that "there is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr... the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies, were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband.
The jury also affirmed overwhelming evidence that identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter, and that Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame." Following statements by Dexter King and other family members, Dexter was subsequently asked by a reporter, "there are many people out there who feel that as long as these conspirators remain nameless and faceless there is no true closure, and no justice."
He replied: "No, he [Mr. Lloyd Jowers] named the shooter. The shooter was the Memphis Police Department Officer, Lt. Earl Clark who he named as the killer. Once again, beyond that you had credible witnesses that named members of a Special Forces team who didn't have to act because the contract killer succeeded, with plausible denial, a Mafia contracted killer".
The United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division started an investigation on Jowers' claims on August 26, 1998. The investigation was completed in June 2000; after numerous inconsistencies in his statements along with other behavior that made it impossible to work with Jowers, the Department of Justice found no reason to believe Jowers' allegations.
Author Jim Douglass attended the trial and commented: This historic trial was so ignored by the media that, apart from the courtroom participants, I was the only person who attended it from beginning to end. What I experienced in that courtroom ranged from inspiration at the courage of the Kings, their lawyer-investigator William F. Pepper, and the witnesses, to amazement at the government's carefully interwoven plot to kill Dr. King. The seriousness with which US intelligence agencies planned the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks eloquently of the threat King and nonviolence represented to the powers that be in the spring of 1968.
Jowers died from a heart attack on May 20, 2000, at the age of 73.
Alberta King (Dr. King's mother) was shot and killed on June 30, 1974 by 23 year-old Marcus Wayne Chenault as she sat at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church during a Sunday service. He wounded three people, two of them —Mrs. King and Deacon Edward Boykin, 69—fatally.
According to the New York Times, Chenault “told the police that his mission was to kill the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., but he shot Mrs. King instead because she was close to him”.
Interestingly, Alberta King’s life was taken only a few months before James Earl Ray’s evidentiary hearing to determine whether or not he would be granted a new trial.
The FBI maintained wiretaps on the King Family and the SCLC for some time after MLK Jr.’s assassination. With mounting evidence of the government’s involvement in the killing, the guilty parties had plenty of reason to be fearful of one of MLK Jr.’s parents going public, or possibly speaking in Ray’s defense.
Posted: October 11, 2012 - 08:50 PM PDT
Oakland, CA (WCJB) -- Oakland is a historic centre of black American culture and radical black politics, having given birth to the Black Panther movement in the 1960s. The Oakland police department (OPD) has long been one of the most controversial urban law enforcement agencies in America, with a string of high-profile criminal and brutality allegations going back decades. There have been persistent reports of police criminality and abuse, especially aimed at the city's black population, where community activists say low-level police harassment is a fact of life. It is the major incidents that really stand out when examining how OPD polices its community, and in particular the poorer black neighbourhoods of Oakland.
(Chief of (Oakland) Police, Howard Jordan, pictured above, center) The use of deadly force has been at the heart of tensions between police and Oakland’s communities of color for decades. In 1968, OPD officers famously shot and killed 17-year-old Black Panther Bobby Hutton as he was surrendering following a shootout. Things have been hostile ever since. OPD has been under the oversight of U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson since 2003, after a rookie officer exposed the “Riders,” a self-styled posse of rogue cops in West Oakland who beat, robbed and framed Black and Latino suspects.
Latest census figures show black people make up the biggest single ethnic group in Oakland at 27.3%, with white people at 25.9% and Hispanics at 25.4%. Despite having almost the same size populations in the city, however, white people account for only 16% of OPD vehicle stops, and 6.7% of motorists searched. Black people in Oakland, by contrast, account for a whopping 48% of vehicle stops, and 65.8% of motorists searched.
A 2006 supreme court decision called the Copley ruling, has been used by OPD to prevent details of complaints about police becoming public knowledge. The ruling undermined the long-standing position of Oakland's Citizens Police Review Board, which civil rights groups had effectively campaigned to set up as a way of holding the OPD accountable. After the Copley ruling, complaints packets about allegations of abuse by OPD officers were no longer available to the public.
The court-appointed monitor tracking police reforms in Oakland issued a scathing report Tuesday, October 2, 2012, concluding that officers sometimes shoot at suspects even though they don't face an imminent threat, perhaps because of "hypersensitivity" to the dangers of their job. The monitor, Robert Warshaw, said in a 17-page report that in-house investigations into the shootings often fell short. In most cases, he said, detectives appeared to be "predisposed to the position that the shooting is justified." Warshaw reviewed nine recent cases, including seven shootings that killed three people and injured a fourth, though details of the cases were redacted. In some cases, officers fired but missed. Warshaw said he was most troubled by cases in which the use of deadly force was "questionable."
"These are the cases, above all others, that require objective, unbiased, probing investigations," Warshaw wrote, "and yet they appear to be cases that exhibit the most deficiencies and the least inquisitiveness." Merrick Bobb, one of the nation’s foremost experts on police reform, said most officers rarely fire their weapons, and the ones that do have a greater propensity to use force on suspects. “There are correlations between officer-involved shootings and other use of force incidents in the life of an officer,” Bobb said.
The Oakland police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Alan Blueford will not face criminal charges as the Alameda County District Attorney's office determined the shooting was justified. In a report released Tuesday, October 9, 2012, District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said she agreed with the conclusions of a senior deputy district attorney who investigated the shooting and found that Officer Miguel Masso (pictured right) had an "actual and reasonable belief that he or others in the area were about to be shot by Mr. Blueford."
"Given the totality of the circumstances as presented and corroborated by other witnesses and the physical evidence recovered, it appears that Officer Masso actually and reasonably believed he was in imminent danger of great bodily injury or death," wrote the report's author, Senior Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Mifsud. "There is a lack of evidence to support a prosecution against him." Masso began working for the Oakland Police Department in 2008. He is a former military police officer with the U.S. Army and had worked for the Morgan Hill Police Department and the New York City Police Department before being hired by Oakland.
Records obtained through a California Public Records Act request support Bobb’s analysis: A small cadre of Oakland police officers are responsible for a disproportionate amount of controversial use of force incidents. Sixteen officers currently in the Oakland Police Department are responsible for 40 of its shootings from 2000 to 2010—or, nearly half of the total 85 shootings. Misconduct allegations filed with the CPRB against these officers would have been public records before the Copley ruling; they are now confidential.
Policing researchers have found that this pattern recurs: a relatively small band of cops accounting for large amounts of violence. It was among the primary findings of the independent investigation following Los Angeles’ 1992 rioting in response to police violence. And watchdogs argue that the pattern suggests deadly violence could be prevented by closely tracking officers with recurring misconduct complaints—something the department has done poorly when left to its own devices.
Only one officer involved in Oakland’s shooting incidents, Hector Jimenez, was disciplined for shooting incidents between 2004 and 2008, the most recent years for which records are available. He was fired and then rehired earlier this year after an arbitration judge ruled he had been improperly terminated. Jimenez was responsible for two fatal shootings within seven months of one another—killing an unarmed 20-year-old, Andrew Moppin-Buckskin on New Years Eve 2007 and, months later, Mack “Jody” Woodfox. Both men were fleeing traffic stops.
Warshaw made clear he had reviewed a May 2011 shooting in which two officers fatally shot two men - one of whom had a gun - after learning they were on their way to carry out a killing. Alameda County prosecutors cleared the officers. Former BART officer Johannes Mehserle is the only police officer charged by the Alameda DA for a shooting. The DA’s more common practice regarding police-shooting investigations was demonstrated last year when it declined to prosecute OPD Officers Eriberto Perez-Angeles and Omar Daza-Quiroz for fatally shooting Derrick Jones, a 37-year-old unarmed barber. Jones, who was on parole, fled from his barbershop after officers responded to a domestic violence call. He was shot multiple times by both officers after they saw him remove a metallic object from his pocket; it was a pocket scale. Both officers had been involved in a fatal shooting two years earlier as well.
Published: Sunday, May 27, 2012, 8:00 AM - Modified: Saturday, June 2, 2012, 11:58 PM PST
The New Orleans police did many horrible things in 2005. The Katrina-era atrocities and cover-ups carried out by the New Orleans Police Department show that black officers had no higher regard for the lives of black civilians than their other colleagues on the force. Black officers were among those who killed unarmed pedestrians and among those who kept mum about the crimes. Black New Orleanians weary of police aggression must wonder if there's anyone on the force to whom they can turn, anyone they can trust not to keep them on their knees.
As far as we know, no black body was treated with more disrespect than Henry Glover's. The Algiers man was wrongfully shot to death the Friday after Katrina by white police officer David Warren. Gregory McRae, another white officer, drove Glover's body to a nearby levee and set fire to it and the car. However, according to FBI files obtained by media sources, a black woman, Sgt. Lesia Mims (pictured left) learned of Glover's fate not long after he died. Mims was Warren's supervisor, but she didn't tell the FBI what she knew about the crimes until March 2010 (five years later). When interviewed she said she "never asked or heard from anyone" about who burned Glover's body.
By doing nothing to see that Glover's death was properly investigated, Mims behaved no differently than Marlon Defillo, the black man who served as the Police Department's second-in-command between 2005 and 2011. Defillo was provided information about Glover's violent death and the desecration of his body at least as early as June 2008. According to testimony Defillo gave a federal grand jury, he sat on that information for seven months. Defillo resigned July 21, the same day he was to expected to be punished for neglecting his duty.
Mims was promoted after Katrina and until last week, she held an investigative position in the department's Public Integrity Bureau. After news of her silence was published Tuesday, police brass reassigned the 23-year veteran officer to desk duty. "This is completely new to us," said Deputy Chief Arlinda Westbrook, the head of the Public Integrity Bureau. "We had no knowledge of this."
In the early 1960's civil rights activists thought it important that black people be hired as police officers. They believed that a black presence in those departments would result in fewer black people being injured or killed by the police. They believed -- it seems now naively -- that black police would show more compassion, more concern. What can be said about yesterday's civil rights leaders? Either they underestimated black people's capacity for self-hatred or they overestimated the power of individuals to change the culture of institutions from within.
A month before Katrina, Raymond Robair, a black man, was stomped to death by black police officer Melvin Williams. The Friday following the storm, Danny Brumfield, a black man, was shot to death by black police officer Ronald Mitchell outside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Robert Faulcon, a black officer convicted in the Danziger Bridge case, got the longest sentence given to an officer for Katrina-related crimes. He was sentenced to 65 years for killing teenager James Brissette and Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man with the mind of a child.
Pictured above, center: Oakland, CA Police Officer Angie Costa, demonstrating pure adulation for the child of OPD Officer, George Cabral.
One could never argue against an integrated police force, or gainsay racial diversity; but if black officers are going to beat and kill black civilians or look the other way after they're dead, it's not unfair for us to ask: Why exactly are you there? The blue wall of silence is real. Officers almost never report misdeeds committed by other officers. It appears that black officers don't do any better in that regard. But if they don't, then their usefulness to the black community becomes difficult to determine.
Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012, 10:00 AM - Updated: Tuesday, May 08, 2012 12:09:23 AM PDT
"By your very nature, you're a threat. The ordinary rules of engagement don't apply. Don't be surprised if you're shot when your hands are empty. Or if in carrying a bag of Skittles, you're deemed more dangerous than a zealot with a gun."
-- Jarvis DeBerry, Nola.com (editorializing the shooting deaths of unarmed black males Trayvon Martin and Wendell Allen).(New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas has said that Wendell Allen, pictured left, was not armed when Officer Joshua Colclough (pictured below, center) shot him during a March 7 raid. Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard has said he detected no gunpowder on Allen's body, which suggests the shot was fired outside close range.) New Orleans, LA -- Wendell Allen was the 20-year-old Gentilly man shot in the chest by a New Orleans police officer during a March 7 raid to rid our streets of weed. New Orleans police officials confirmed Allen was fatally shot by a plain-clothed narcotics officer during a drug raid at a Gentilly house a day earlier and was unarmed. Though Allen had a previous conviction related to distributing marijuana, it doesn't appear that he was the police's focus during the fatal raid.
Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas has also confirmed that Allen was unarmed. Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard has said there's no evidence that Allen was close to Joshua Colclough when the officer fired the fatal shot. Minyard said he found no gunpowder on the victim's skin. Police officials were guarded in their comments about the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation. "We have not been able to yet completely understand what exactly occurred," Police Superintendent Serpas said. Serpas said officers later found drug paraphernalia and 138 grams of marijuana -- about four and a half ounces -- inside the residence. Though Allen was unarmed, someone inside the house alerted investigators to a gun "hidden inside the house," Serpas said. Officers later discovered a .380 caliber handgun. Serpas did not indicate whether the gun was legal or illegal, or whether it had been registered or stolen. Nor did he link it directly to Allen. Family members and their attorney portrayed Police Superintendent Serpas, Mayor Landrieu and Police Monitor Susan Hutson -- all of whom met privately with them -- as liars who withheld information. While Serpas released these details at a late-afternoon news conference at NOPD headquarters, Allen's relatives stood outside, holding signs aloft demanding justice for their loved one.
They alleged that the shooting was unjustified and called police "killers."
The shooting took place inside a red-brick, two-story home at 2651 Prentiss Ave. in Gentilly. Officers were executing a search warrant at the home following a days-old probe of marijuana dealing. Allen's sister, 14-year-old Jazmine Jones, said her brother was shirtless, wearing only pajama pants. She said Allen was upstairs inside his room, and she was watching television with a younger brother, when police barged through the front door. "As soon as they run upstairs, I heard a gunshot," Jones said. She described a chaotic scene, with mass confusion, as police spread through the home, guns drawn, and children scuttling about.
A single bullet struck Allen in the chest. It penetrated his lungs, heart and aorta, said Coroner Frank Minyard. The lanky 6-foot 3-inch former basketball star fell to floor the in the stairwell. He came to rest on a landing. He died "almost instantly," Minyard said. "They killed him for nothing," said Allen's aunt, Karen Allen, 32, of Sulphur.
Colclough, the 28-year-old former security guard who shot Allen, didn't give a voluntary statement to police investigators until days after the shooting, the details of which, a police spokeswoman said, the department cannot disclose. Colclough's attorney has said, "An honest investigation of the incident will find Officer Colclough justified. And I trust that will happen."
The police probe into the Allen shooting is ongoing, with NOPD investigators and representatives of the police monitor conducting a videotaped walk-through inside the Allen residence. City and police officials have released few details about the investigation. They have yet to offer a clear narrative to explain what, if anything, prompted officer Colclough to fire on Allen inside his home as they executed a search warrant for marijuana. Colclough, a 4 1/2-year NOPD veteran, was reassigned to desk duty in the wake of the shooting.
Given Colclough's delayed statement, is it too soon for Allen's family, the Louisiana Justice Institute and the rest of New Orleans to expect solid answers regarding Allen's death? Too soon to expect an arrest and the involvement of the district attorney? Probably. At the same time, when a young black man is killed like this, it's never too early to fear that his death will wrongly be deemed justified and that it will eventually go unpunished.
Allen's shooting was the second fatal shooting of a "suspect" by police within a week in the NOPD's 3rd District, a relatively sleepy swath of residential neighborhoods that stretch from Lakeview through Gentilly. In last week's incident, in Mid-City, two officers were badly injured in a gunfight before the alleged gunman, 20-year-old Justin Sipp, was killed by police gunfire.
The response of city leaders to the two incidents, not surprisingly, has been markedly different. After last week's shooting, city and police leaders gathered at a news conference. They called the the officers heroic, making clear that they believed the cops were provoked by civilian gunfire and that the officers' actions appeared justified.
Posted: May 2, 2012 at 10:37 am - Updated: Sunday, May 06, 2012 03:57:23 PM PDT
"A Good ...!"
(pictured left, Carnell Gaines) JACKSON, Miss. — A police investigator who played minor league baseball before starting his law enforcement career died Tuesday in a shooting that also killed a suspect in a sexual battery case and injured two other officers at an apartment complex in central Mississippi, authorities said. Pearl Police Department spokesman Lt. Butch Townsend said in a statement that the slain officer was Michael J. “Mike” Walter, 37, of Pearl. Walter, a San Diego native, pitched in the minor leagues for the Houston Astros’ organization from 1993 to 2000, and spent part of his last four seasons playing for teams based in Jackson. He joined the Pearl Police Department in February 2009 as a patrol officer and quickly climbed the ranks to become an investigator in October 2010.
(pictured above, center, Mike Walters) The shooting happened while the officers were serving a warrant at the Colony Park Apartments in Pearl, a city of about 25,000 people just east of Jackson. Townsend said another officer was shot in the hand and leg and a third was injured in the forearm, but not from a bullet wound. Townsend said investigator Dave McCarley was shot in the hand and leg, wounds that may require extensive rehabilitation, but he’s expected to make a full recovery. Investigator Shaun Terwilliger received injuries to his forearm and was treated and released.
Rankin County District Attorney Michael Guest said the officers were serving a warrant when Carnell Gaines Jr. opened fire. Guest said at least one of the officers returned fire, killing Gaines. Gaines was indicted on a federal charge in 2004 of being a convicted felon in possession of a gun, Guest said. He was sentenced in 2005 to 2 1/2 years to be served at the same time as a burglary charge in state court in Hinds County. He was sent back to prison on a probation violation for a six-month sentence in March 2011.
Two Mississippi teenagers were arrested after video recording the police investigation into the shooting from their balcony Tuesday. Pearl Police, who charged up the stairs to arrest the teens and burst through their apartment door without a warrant after a shooting took place in the parking lot below, charged the teens with disorderly conduct. Terrell Madison and his twin sister Shanell were jailed for several hours before they were released. Police returned their phone but kept their SIM card, which is unlawful to do without a subpoena.
August 8, 2011
Cincinnati, Ohio - University of Cincinnati officials are investigating the school's police department after a summer school student died after campus cops shot him with a Taser. Everette Howard, 18 (pictured above, center) from Cincinnati, had a heart attack early Saturday after a confrontation with campus cops investigating a reported assault. The incident took place outside a dorm where Howard was staying during a six-week college prep program. He was set to enroll at University of Cumberlands in Kentucky in the fall.
School officials said officers arrived at the dorm at around 3 a.m. and were approached by Howard, who was agitated and had balled his fists, local media reported. The cops told Howard to back off but he refused, officials said. An officer then shot him once with a Taser. Howard crumpled to the ground. When the officers checked on him, he was incoherent, officials said. Paramedics arrived, and Howard went into cardiac arrest soon after. He was pronounced dead at University Hospital.
UC Spokesman Greg Hand told media sources an investigation "ongoing." The officer who fired the stun gun was on paid leave, local reports say. UC Assistant Dean of Students Dawn Wilson said the school was "distraught" over the young man's death. "I just wanted to be here to express my support to students and my condolences to his friends and family and the people who loved him," Wilson told local television.
Howard was a champion wrestler in high school and graduated in the top 10% of his class this spring. He was enrolled in the university's Upward Bound program, which helps prepare poor high school students for college, The Enquirer said. On Sunday, dozens of students gathered on UC's campus for a candlelight vigil, and more than 1,400 people posted condolences for the young athlete's family on a Facebook tribute page.
"He was probably the most talented student as far as writing skills, oral, leadership; anytime I had trouble with the rest of the group he would help me out," Ekundayo Igeleke, Howard's mentor in the summer program, told media sources. "The world didn't get to see who he really was, to fully develop into the man he could have been," Igeleke said.
The Hamilton County coroner said Howard had been shot by a Taser once before in 2010. Details of that incident were not immediately available.
Thank You Marysol!
December 17, 2010
[T]here were 45 officer-involved shootings in Oakland, CA from 2004 to 2008. Thirty-six of them involved black men, and one involved a black woman.
OAKLAND, CA -- One of three BART police officers fired in the wake of the shooting death of Oscar Grant III can have her job back, an arbitrator ruled today, finding that Marysol Domenici (pictured above, center) did not lie to investigators, or during a court hearing, about what occurred on the Fruitvale BART station platform early Jan. 1, 2009. BART fired Domenici more than a year after Grant's death for lying to BART investigators and during a preliminary hearing about the events that occurred just before Grant was shot by former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.
Mehserle was charged with murder for the killing but was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a Los Angeles County jury. He is now serving time in the Los Angeles County Jail and is expected to be released in the summer.
Domenici (pictured left) became a key participant in the killing and during various investigations of the killing because she was one of two officers who first responded to the Fruitvale station to investigate a fight on a train. Along with her partner, Anthony Pirone, Domenici detained Grant and several friends and forced them to sit along a wall at the station before Mehserle arrived. Pirone also was fired, and a decision on his appeal has not been completed.
Domenici, 30, was placed on paid administrative leave for 15 months after the incident and then fired a year later after the law firm, hired by BART, determined that she was being untruthful in statements to investigators and in her testimony at a preliminary hearing during which a judge ruled that prosecutors had enough evidence to continue their murder case against Mehserle. Domenici was fired in March when that law firm's investigation was completed. Domenici appealed the firing and was exonerated today after a 14-day hearing before William Riker, the arbitrator in the case.
In addition to winning her job back, Domenici is entitled to back pay from the day she was fired in March, the arbitrator ruled. "BART must abide by today's labor arbitrator ruling to reinstate Officer Marysol Domenici," a statement released by the transit agency said. "It is now out of our hands." Domenici's attorney did not immediately return calls seeking comment. It remains unclear today whether Domenici will return to the BART police force.
A civil rights attorney who sued BART for federal civil rights violations, said the arbitrator's ruling has no impact on his multi-million dollar lawsuit. "It has no effect on our civil case," the attorney said. "I'm not surprised by the arbitrator's decision." Despite the ruling, the attorney said he still believes Domenici purposely overstated the riotous actions of a crowd of train riders who witnessed the killing in an attempt to justify the killing.
December 10, 2010
Three current and former New Orleans, Louisiana, police officers were convicted Thursday for shooting and burning a man in the chaos following Hurricane Katrina, then later trying to cover up the crime. Two other officers -- one current and one former -- were acquitted at the close of the 19-day trial. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten painted the split verdicts as a victory for prosecutors, as well as for the hurricane-ravaged city and its beleaguered police department. The crimes, one of several involving New Orleans police that have been and are set to go to trial, occurred just days after the hurricane hit the city. "Tonight's verdict is a critical phase in the recovery and healing of this city, of the people ... and this region," Letten said. "This is a really positive move toward healing." The jury found one-time New Orleans police officer David Warren guilty of manslaughter for killing 31-year-old Henry Glover on September 2, 2005. He was also found guilty of deprivation of rights under color of law -- a charge that relates to abusing one's status as a police officer while breaking the law.
New Orleans Burning!
Published: December 1, 2013 - Updated: December 6, 2013
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Three years after his manslaughter conviction, a former New Orleans police officer is getting a second chance to convince a jury that he was justified in fatally shooting a man outside a strip mall during Hurricane Katrina’s chaotic aftermath.
David Warren, whose retrial is scheduled to start Monday, was one of 20 officers charged in a series of federal investigations of alleged police misconduct in New Orleans. His December 2010 conviction was touted as a major milestone in the Justice Department’s ambitious efforts to clean up the city’s troubled police department.
Warren was one of the first to be tried. He will also be the first of several officers to get a retrial as federal prosecutors — dogged by misconduct allegations of their own — try to salvage cases that many viewed as catalysts for healing the city’s post-Katrina wounds.
Five of the 20 officers pleaded guilty and are serving prison sentences. Of the others, three were acquitted while seven had their convictions overturned and await retrials. Four had their convictions upheld. A prosecutor’s ill-advised remark led to a mistrial for another officer.
Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche, whose watchdog group frequently provides federal authorities with information about alleged police misconduct, said prosecutors’ setbacks may only be temporary.
“History is yet to be written because the dust hasn’t settled,” he said. “If this was a report card, you would give it an ‘I’ for ‘Incomplete.’ ”
The same jury that convicted Warren of fatally shooting Henry Glover, 31, also convicted another officer, Gregory McRae, of burning Glover’s body in a car after a good Samaritan drove the dying man to a makeshift police headquarters. A third former officer, Travis McCabe, was convicted of writing a false report on the shooting.
Warren was serving nearly 26 years in prison when a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled he should have been tried separately from four other officers charged with participating in a coverup to make Glover’s shooting appear justified.
The panel agreed with Warren’s lawyers that the “spillover effect” of evidence about the coverup, including emotional testimony about the burning of Glover’s body and photos of his charred remains, denied him a fair trial.
Warren’s lawyers have urged U.S. District Judge Lance Africk to hold the retrial elsewhere, saying the jury pool has been tainted by extensive media coverage.
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Warren’s attorneys said some of the prospective jurors who filled out a questionnaire from the court mistakenly believed Warren was one of the officers involved in deadly shootings on a bridge that also occurred in Katrina’s aftermath.
In September, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt cited allegations of “grotesque” prosecutorial misconduct in ordering a new trial for five former officers who were convicted of civil rights violations in the shootings that killed two unarmed residents and wounded four others on the Danziger Bridge. The judge said at least three government attorneys posted anonymous comments on a New Orleans newspaper’s Web site, creating a “carnival atmosphere” that perverted justice in the case.
Engelhardt’s ruling didn’t focus on the substance of the charges against the officers, Goyeneche noted.
“The jury spoke,” he said. “The jury assessed the facts and the evidence and concluded they were guilty.”
Jurors didn’t get a chance to pass judgment on Gerard Dugue, a retired sergeant who was tried separately on charges he engaged in a coverup of the bridge shootings. Engelhardt declared a mistrial, ruling that lead prosecutor Bobbi Bernstein may have tainted the jury when she mentioned the name of a man who was beaten to death by a police officer in an unrelated case.
The jurors who convicted Warren, McRae and McCabe also acquitted two other former officers of charges related to the alleged coverup of Glover’s death.
During his first trial, Warren testified that he thought Glover had a gun when he shot him with an assault rifle from a second-floor balcony at the strip mall. He was guarding a police substation at the time. Prosecutors said Glover wasn’t armed and accused Warren of shooting him in the back.
A Houston-based defense attorney who once worked as a federal prosecutor in New Orleans, said it could be tougher for prosecutors to convict Warren a second time because jurors won’t be hearing testimony about the “ghoulish” nature of the coverup. Prosecutors also are hamstrung by the lack of physical evidence, because of the burning of Glover’s body, he said.
“It’s a big gap in the government’s case,” Clarke said.
November 20, 2010
The Henry Glover Case!
New Orleans' criminal justice system was broken even before [Hurricane] Katrina, and things have only worsened since. In 2006, even with a drastically reduced population, New Orleans had 161 murders, four times the national average. In the first 10 days of 2007, at least eight people were killed. For their part, [New Orleans] police counter[ed] that the D.A.'s office [wa]s demanding more work than [wa]s necessary to bring criminal offenders to trial, and play[ed] politics by bringing first-degree murder charges against four cops who [we now know] opened fire on a group of [unarmed] pedestrians in Katrina's chaotic aftermath. State charges were later dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct.
There is no written or official police report describing what happened in this photo. According to witness accounts and photographs, New Orleans police officers attacked two handcuffed civilians on Sept. 1, 2005 and repeatedly sought to keep journalists from documenting the beating. The two men who were beaten, Ernest "Ricky" Bell and Robert Williams, say police thought they had been involved in a gunfight with officers. But Bell and Williams say they had nothing to do with any shooting, though they do admit to stealing a limousine in hopes of getting out of the flooded city. Williams claims police kicked out most of his upper front teeth, while Bell says he suffered from internal bleeding as result of the attack
Movie Intermission! New Orleans: 5 Years Post-Katrina!
Reporting conducted by investigative journalist A.C. Thompson for ProPublica The Nation and, later, the PBS television show Frontline ("Law and Disorder") revealed a disturbing pattern of police officer complicity in the killings of black men during and after Katrina. For example, six New Orleans police officers face trial after the police opened fire on local people as they crossed a bridge trying to flee the floodwaters. Two were killed and four others wounded. Federal prosecutors claimed in pre-trial court documents that two of the NOPD officers accused in the alleged police shooting death of Henry Glover in the days after Hurricane Katrina and a subsequent cover-up were involved in unrelated, racially tinged incidents shortly before Glover was killed. David Warren -- a former officer charged with fatally shooting Glover on Sept. 2, 2005, outside an Algiers strip mall -- allegedly fired his personal rifle earlier that morning at another black man walking nearby, according to a federal court filing entered late Wednesday. A separate court filing alleged that Officer Greg McRae -- charged with beating Glover's companions and later setting fire to a car with Glover's body inside it -- threatened a citizen who approached a makeshift police compound days earlier. According to the filing, he pointed a handgun at the man and told him: "Get back before I shoot your black ass." The filings marked the first time prosecutors suggested a racial animus in any of the post-Katrina incidents of violence involving police.
November 19, 2010 From left: Robert Barrios, Robert Faulcon Jr., Ignatius Hills, Robert Gisevius Jr., Kenneth Bowen, Anthony Villavaso II, and Michael Hunter Jr. (AP Photo). It began as the story that no one was interested in. No one in the media wanted to believe that officers of the New Orleans Police Department had murdered unarmed civilians and then engaged in a massive and wide-ranging conspiracy to cover it up. And no one wanted to pursue evidence that revealed a department plagued by systemic corruption. The conduct of NOPD has underscored deep-seated problems, which will be much harder to overcome, including a widespread mistrust of police among many citizens. On Sept. 2, 2005 Danny Brumfield Sr., a 45-year-old man stranded with his family at the New Orleans Convention Center, was deliberately hit by a patrol car, then shot in the back by police in front of scores of witnesses as he tried to wave down the officers to ask for help. Two days later, seven officers killed two unarmed New Orleanians and injured several more in a hail of gunfire on the Danziger Bridge. This bridge crosses the Industrial Canal, connecting New Orleans East with the rest of the city, and was one of the only routes survivors from that part of town could travel to escape the floodwaters. Amid a hail of police gunfire on the bridge, a mentally challenged man named Ronald Madison was shot in the back by officers. According to Thompson's reporting, Madison was shot by officer Robert Faulcon. Officer Kenneth Bowen then rushed up and kicked and stomped on him, apparently until he was dead. One of the other civilians who survived had her arm shot off; another was so badly injured that he now requires a colostomy bag. (Two men cover their faces as they walk past the body of Danny Brumfield Sr. in the street outside the Convention Center on Sept. 3, 2005. New Orleans Police said Brumfield was shot after attacking an New Orleans police officer with a pair of scissors. Police records in the killing have been subpoenaed. See: Two New Orleans police officers lied under oath about the fatal shooting of a man outside the convention center after Hurricane Katrina, according to a federal indictment.) The officers involved arrested Madison's brother Lance under false pretenses and later had secret meetings at which they conspired to invent a cover story, including planting a gun, hiding evidence, inventing witnesses and writing coordinated statements, rewritten multiple times to be believable. Lance Madison spent months in jail facing charges that officers now admit were based in fiction. On Sept. 2, 2005, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco announced that National Guard troops had arrived in New Orleans. "They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded," she warned. "These troops know how to shoot and kill, and they are more than willing to do so if necessary, and I expect they will." Witnesses from the NOPD have said that Warren Riley, who was then second-in-command of the NOPD, added to this dangerous atmosphere by telling officers that they had permission to shoot and kill as many "looters" as their conscience allowed: "If you can sleep with it, do it." Riley denies the claims, although he does say that he "may have said" that officers needed to "take back the city." On the same day that Blanco made her threat, Henry Glover, 31, an African-American resident of New Orleans' Westbank neighborhood, was shot by one officer and then was apparently taken hostage by other officers who either killed him directly or let him bleed to death, according to published reports. His burned remains were found weeks later in the back of a car with a bullet wound in his skull. Sometime between the discovery and the coroner's report, the skull disappeared and the case was not flagged by the coroner's office as a potential homicide. Vigilantes began patrolling the city, apparently having received the same message that killing suspected looters was now officially approved. A young black man named Donnell Herrington was shot by a gang of armed white vigilantes in the Algiers neighborhood. Neighbors reported hearing the white man who shot Herrington -- Roland Bourgeois Jr., 47 -- promise to shoot anybody with skin "darker than a brown paper bag." New Orleans, LA - Over 70 minutes, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey Knight laid out the government's case against the five New Orleans police officers accused in the death of Henry Glover and a subsequent cover-up, telling the jury what it will see and hear during the course of the four-week trial. She said each of the five defendants took active roles in keeping the truth under wraps.
Case History & Testimony!
In Baton Rouge, about an hour away from New Orleans, police were under orders from their supervisors to make the city inhospitable to displaced New Orleanians. In the weeks after the storm, the behavior of the Baton Rouge police was so blatantly discriminatory, violent and illegal that state police from Michigan and New Mexico, who had come to Baton Rouge as volunteer reinforcements, left after just two days, lodging formal complaints with the city."They swore to uphold the constitutional rights of others, but on Sept. 2, 2005, these men broke that promise," Knight said. "They believed that after the storm no one was watching. They were convinced that no one cared about Henry Glover and how he died." Knight methodically ticked off a timeline of events that began with a shooting and ended in federal criminal charges. She broke the alleged crimes down into three categories: the fatal shooting of Glover, the beating of his companions and the burning of his body, and later, the fabrication of reports and a cover-up of the whole matter. (Click on Photo to enlarge(+)) Prosecutor lays out the U.S. case Today, for the first time, a jury began hearing the details behind the criminal charges. Knight said Glover was shot in the back by former NOPD officer David Warren, who was tasked with guarding a strip mall and police substation in Algiers with his partner. Glover and a companion had rushed from a stolen truck toward the strip mall in pursuit of suitcases that had been previously stolen and set aside. When Warren yelled to stop, Glover ran away as a single bullet hit him in the back, Knight said. She added that Warren's partner, Linda Howard -- a key government witness who was slated to take the stand late Wednesday afternoonÂ -- will testify that Glover and the man posed no threat to the officers, but that Warren fired anyway. A wounded Glover was assisted by companions and a stranger, unaware of the circumstances, who drove him to Habans Elementary School, the site of a makeshift police compound, for medical aid. This is where the next part of the case begins. Dwayne Scheuermann and Greg McRae walk into the Hale Boggs Federal Building on Monday. Opening arguments were heard in the case involving the killing and burning of a man in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina. At the school, Knight said, officer Greg McRae and Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann "yelled at them, cursed at them, and they ruthlessly beat them" while Glover lay bleeding in the back of a car. Then McRae got behind the wheel of the car and drove off, with Scheuermann following. Shortly afterward, a fellow police officer saw McRae, laughing, running down a levee behind the NOPD's 4th District Station, with Schuermann in pursuit, Knight said. A black cloud of smoke billowed behind them. New Orleans Police Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann aims his gun on the Claiborne Overpass in New Orleans on Sept. 1, 2005. Around 1 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2005, Capt. Jeff Winn and Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann shot Keenon McCann as he stood on the Claiborne Overpass.
In their complaints, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate, the out-of-state police described widespread beatings, search and seizure, spraying of mace and arrests -- all of which were apparently random and unprovoked. One trooper complained that "Baton Rouge officers referred to black people as 'animals' that needed to be beaten down." Another state trooper reported, "Each time [Baton Rouge Police Officer Chad King] would make contact with a Caucasian person, he would be friendly and pleasant. But when he spoke to a black person, he was very loud, rude and demeaning." A Michigan cop reported that officers offered to let him beat a prisoner as a "thank-you for helping out with relief efforts."The pair allegedly told their fellow officer: "Don't worry about it, we've got it under control." Knight, in the same cool tone, continued. "There was absolutely no legitimate reason to burn Henry Glover's body." Back at the compound, Glover's handcuffed companions were unaware of Glover's fate. Scheuermann told them Glover had been shot for looting, Knight said. He then gave the group a bottle of water and walked away. Next, Knight segued to the alleged cover-up orchestrated by former Lt. Robert Italiano and Lt. Travis McCabe. She said both men took steps to make sure the incidents were never linked or fully investigated. She made clear to the jury that "numerous police officers" contributed "in some way to hide the truth." "Some will tell you they were afraid because they didn't want to be considered a rat," she said. "This battle between staying quiet and their conscience caused many police officers to forgo their duty of telling the truth. They felt they had no choice but to go along with the cover-up." One of these officers is Sgt. Purnella Simmons, a key government witness who helped write the police report on the Glover shooting. She gave inconsistent statements to federal agents. Without naming Simmons, Knight noted that two police officers have been granted immunity from prosecution in the case in exchange for truthful testimony. "I would just ask that you pay attention to these witnesses and listen to the reasons why they weren't initially truthful ... why they finally decided to come forward." Knight also attempted to pre-empt what is expected to be a key defense: that the officers' actions need to be considered against the horrific backdrop of post-Katrina New Orleans. "I want to ask you to keep that in mind, if the defense tries to suggest to you that because of Hurricane Katrina that these defendants cannot be held accountable for their actions, some actions are never excusable," Knight said. Defense attorneys begin arguments Within short order, the defense team offered their own opening arguments, several questioning the trustworthiness of government witnesses. Warren's attorney, Julian Murray, went first. "This is a case about reconstructing what happened four years later," Murray said. "What you heard is not the way it happened. It is not even close to the way it happened." Murray characterized Warren, who joined the police force in his 40s after a career in business, as a devoted public servant who stayed on the job during an extraordinarily challenging time. When two apparent looters rushed up to the shopping center, Warren was in an untenable situation, Murray said. "He's got this split-second to decide what to do, whether to let them in or not. And he fired his weapon." It's easy to second-guess afterward, Murray said. "The man is not a killer," he said with a glance to his client. In a sharp departure from the arguments of other defense attorneys, Frank DeSalvo acknowledged that his client, Gregory McRae, in fact did one of the things the government alleges. "He drove over the levee, parked (a car) in a green space, so the fire wouldn't spread," DeSalvo said. Then, McRae lit a roadway flare and walked away as the car went up in flames. "McRae didn't know that Henry Glover had been shot by a policeman. He didn't know David Warren. He didn't think about denying anyone access to a court system. He didn't fathom that he violated anyone's civil rights. Nobody asked him to set that car on fire with the body in it. ... He just set that car on fire." 'He made a very bad decision' McRae's attorney urged the jury to consider McRae's state of mind, the state of the city, and the state of the New Orleans Police Department. DeSalvo portrayed McRae as a "desk jockey" who worked nonstop after the storm. He dealt with countless dead bodies. And at one point, McRae was ordered by his supervisor, Capt. Jeff Winn, to move Glover's body from the police compound. "He did. He made a very bad decision in burning that body," DeSalvo acknowledged. "And he wishes today he hadn't done it." Nonetheless, McRae "didn't intend to violate" anyone's civil rights, DeSalvo said. "It wasn't a crime then and it isn't a crime now," he added. McRae's alleged accomplice in burning Glover's body, Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann, sat at the defense table with his hands folded. His attorney, Jeffrey Kearney, stood over him, his hand on Scheuermann's shoulder. Scheuermann had "no idea" McRae would toss a roadway flare into the car, Kearney said. "It was never discussed. It was never suggested," Kearney said. "Greg McRae acted on his own." And if Scheuermann or his supervisor, Winn, knew this was going to happen, they never would have let McRae get behind the wheel of the car and move it to the levee, Kearney said. Kearney added that Scheuermann never beat any of Glover's companions, and that he never knew their arrival at the police compound had any connection to a recent police shooting. 'It is a tragedy' The attorney for Italiano, who is charged with fabricating reports and lying to federal agents, came next. Italiano, a 37-year police veteran who retired in 2006, was unable to connect the different events in the days after Katrina, attorney Steven Lemoine said. For example, Italiano was notified that an officer fired his weapon, not that anyone was ever wounded. He also heard the suspected shopping-center looters fled in a white truck, Lemoine said. As it pertains to the events at Habans school, Italiano only knew that a group of men, including a wounded man, arrived in a white car and were not forthcoming with police. He was told by others that the events were not linked, Lemoine said. "There is no reason for Bob Italiano to believe that this person, in the car on the levee, is someone who was shot by a police officer," Lemoine said. The attorney also noted that Italiano voluntarily offered information to the FBI. "The evidence will show that it is a tragedy that Mr. Glover died. It is a tragedy that his body was burned on the levee," Lemoine said. But it doesn't mean the tragedy "resulted in a police cover-up of the facts." M. Allyn Stroud, the attorney for Travis McCabe, repeatedly emphasized that McCabe never went to the shooting scene or the police compound in the aftermath of the incidents involving Glover. His involvement began when Sgt. Purnella Simmons, now a government witness, approached him months later, seeking assistance in writing a report on the shooting, Stroud said. Stroud glanced at McCabe, and then peered at the jury. "He is at the table because he agreed to help a fellow officer," Stroud said. McCabe is charged with lying to federal agents, making false statements and contributing to a fabricated police report. "Those charges are very, very ironic," Stroud said. "You will hear from one or more officers that they lied to the grand jury, made false statements, and at least one who vouched for a report under oath that she later said was false." "Unlike the government witnesses, there are no inconsistencies here," Stroud said, pointing at McCabe. "Unlike the government witnesses, no flip-flops, no changes."
"Law and Disorder."
November 19, 2010 Six officers testified in trial Wednesday, including one who said he witnessed officers Scheuermann and McRae beating the three men at the SWAT compound. Another officer, Keyalah Bell, said she knew at the time that not only had Glover been shot by NOPD officer David Warren but that an unidentified body at the SWAT compound was Glover's. Warren was assigned to guard a shopping centre from looters with Linda Howard, a fellow officer who told the court that Warren had armed himself with his personal semi-automatic rifle. "I asked him what did he want that for? He said: 'For protection,'" said Howard. "At one point Warren said: 'Do you know we're under martial law?' I said: 'I don't know anything about martial law, but I do know that the laws you had before the storm are the same ones you have to follow now.'" When Glover arrived at the shopping centre with another man in a four-wheel drive and the pair looked as if they were about to load looted goods into the vehicle, Warren shouted at them. "It was a loud command telling them to get away," said Howard. "They were startled. They ran away … toward the street. I could see Warren levelling his weapon and a shot rang out. And the gentleman ran and collapsed in the street. I asked him: 'What did you do that for? He said: 'I didn't hit him'. I said: 'Yes you did'." Warren says that he felt threatened because Glover was storming at him with something in his hand that could have been a weapon. But Howard said the victim was heading in the other direction and that she didn't reach for her weapon "because I didn't feel threatened". A photograph displayed in court shows Glover with a bullet hole in the middle of his back. Another officer testified that in the aftermath of the hurricane Warren told him that looters "were all animals and they deserved to be shot". Keenon McCann bleeds from his wounds after he was shot on the Interstate-10 overpass near the Superdome in New Orleans on Sept. 1, 2005. McCann was one of at least 10 people shot by New Orleans police in the week after Hurricane Katrina. Alex Brandon, a former Times-Picayune photographer, testified in federal court Wednesday that shortly after Katrina, he followed up with Lt. Greg McRae about a strange situation Brandon had stumbled on in the storm's immediate aftermath. There had been a bleeding man in a car, three handcuffed men lying on the ground, and what appeared to be a "contentious" situation, Brandon said. Sitting in the cafeteria of a makeshift NOPD SWAT compound, the officer, McRae swiped his hand across his neck and said, simply, "NAT" -- police lingo for Necessary Action Taken. In his testimony on Wednesday, Brandon told the jury that he had walked up to the SWAT compound and seen the three men -- Glover's friend, brother and a good Samaritan -- lying handcuffed on the ground and saw Glover's body in the car. Officer McRae told him not to take photos, so he didn't. Brandon also took photos at other key incidents in the days after Katrina that have spawned federal investigations and indictments. He was embedded with the SWAT unit after the hurricane, and he witnessed the aftermath of the Danziger Bridge incident, in which six unarmed civilians were shot by police. He was also on the scene of the shooting of Keenon McCann, in which police shot the apparently unarmed man while he stood under a highway overpass waiting for help in the aftermath of the storm. Brandon's photos, taken on the day of McCann's shooting, show Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann, who is on trial for beating the men who tried to aid Glover and for burning Glover's body, aiming his gun at McCann. Scheuermann and another officer -- Captain Jeff Winn -- have admitted shooting McCann, although they claim he was armed and posing a threat. No gun was found at the scene. (NOPD Sgt. Robert Gisevius makes his way to Central Lockup with supportive fellow officers lining South White Street. Seven New Orleans police officers indicted Thursday, December 28, 2006, surrendered to the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's office Tuesday, January 6, 2007, walking to central lockup past hundreds of supporting officers) One of the police officers charged with covering up the post-Hurricane Katrina killing of a New Orleans man knew more about the role police played in the incident than he previously had let on, according to testimony in a federal trial. Henry Glover, a 31-year-old resident of the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, was shot by NOPD officer David Warren on Sept. 2, 2005. When three men took Glover to a makeshift police compound for help, they were beaten, and two officers drove off with their car and Glover's body. Glover's charred remains were later found in the burnt-out car on a levee of the Mississippi River. Glover's death was first detailed by ProPublica nearly two years ago, in an investigative partnership with the Nation Institute and the Nation magazine. Former Lt. Robert Italiano, one of two officers charged with covering up the crime, has said that he did not realize that the two crime scenes -- the site of the shooting, and the burnt car and remains -- were related. But new testimony from an Immigration, Customs and Enforcement Agency supervisor undercuts that claim. ICE Supervisory Agent John Schmidt testified yesterday and this morning that on Oct. 9, 2005 -- just over a month after Glover was killed -- he told Italiano that he had interviewed the man who had tried to save Glover. The man, Will Tanner, who testified last week, had told Schmidt about Glover being shot, about his attempts to get Glover help, and about watching officers drive off in his car with Glover's body. What's more, Schmidt told Italiano, the burnt-out car with human remains found on the levee was registered to Will Tanner. According to Schmidt's testimony, after telling Italiano about his findings, Italiano told him he "was going to take care of it." Schmidt didn't hear back from any law enforcement about the matter until 2009, when he was contacted by the FBI. (You can read more about Schmidt's testimony in the Times-Picayune’s story here.) Italiano and Lt. Travis McCabe are charged with the cover up, Officer David Warren is charged with shooting Glover, and Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann and Officer Greg McRae are charged with beating Tanner, Glover's brother, and a friend, and then burning Glover's body.
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