New Orleans Officers Charged in Post-Katrina Deaths

The Obama Adminisration may be serious about ramping up the civil rights division.

Six New Orleans police officers have been charged in the post-Kaatrina deaths of unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005.

The 27 count Indictment alleges some ugly facts. Five other former police officers have pleaded guilty and admitted that they participated in a conspiracy to obstruct justice and cover up what happened that date.

The four officers charged with killing civilians face maximum penalties of life in prison or the death penalty. The officers face additional penalties for the remaining counts, which include charges related to a conspiracy to cover up what had happened on the bridge, and conspiracies to file charges against two of the victims, Lance Madison and Jose Holmes, on the basis of false evidence.

The other two face 70 and 120 years.

The New York Times reports eight other incidents of alleged police misconduct are still under investigation.

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    Finally (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 10:52:18 AM EST
    I never thought we would see this day though.  I had sort of given up.

    Huge kudos to the Obama administration (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 11:25:46 AM EST
    for this too.  The Bush administration wasn't going to do anything, not when they were hiring the Blackwater army to go shoot looters.  They were fine with a few dead people and law enforcement shooting the place up in between stealing whatever wasn't nailed down.  This one goes in the thank you Barack and Holder column.

    The Feds started their investigation (none / 0) (#6)
    by BTAL on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 12:51:27 PM EST
    in the fall of 2008.  So, the Bush DOJ initiated and the Obama DOJ continued it.

    The date info is in the linked article.


    There is a big (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by JamesTX on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 01:10:16 PM EST
    difference between initiating and investigation and an indictment. An investigation is always initiated, and an exoneration issued. I think it's fair to say this outcome would have been different under the previous administration.

    And federal indictments happen (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by BTAL on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 01:31:07 PM EST
    in the blink of an eye and the wave of the magic wand.

    It is not "fair to say" but only opinion and speculation.

    I recognize the Bush administration stepped up to fill the void/failure of the local and state agencies and applaud the Obama DOJ for finishing the job.  The individuals need to be tried, convicted and punished.  

    An attempt make this an Obama DOJ pulling victory from the jaws of defeat opens the NBPP can of worms.


    Lo (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:10:20 PM EST
    The incident happened in 2005. NOLA PD was notorious and had been investigated since the 1990's.

    For the Bush DOJ to wait 3 years, until the second to last month that the GOP would control them is outrageous.

    Nothing BushCo did regarding the NOLA disaster was honorable.

    He hated those people, and loved the job that the NOLA cops were doing. They murdered as many blacks in a few weeks as were murdered in a whole year.


    Nonsense (none / 0) (#20)
    by BTAL on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:18:13 PM EST
    The locals take the first bite at the law enforcement apple.  Then the state steps in and screws the pooch.  

    The feds followed up in the correct order.  Little issues like states rights/responsibilities and double jeopardy come to bear.

    The rest of your hate comments are drivel.


    OK (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:31:36 PM EST
    Well the Obama DOJ did not wait for BP to be acquitted on a state level to start a DOJ investigation.

    As your folks like to say this is Obama's Katerina.


    Big difference (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by BTAL on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:46:56 PM EST
    The BP issue occurred in federal waters.  No local or state jurisdiction.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#30)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 04:14:47 PM EST
    Bush's DOJ worked hard to protect the environment and BushCo cronies...  with quality people like Monica Goodling overseeing the hiring, what did anyone expect..

    OK (none / 0) (#28)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:56:00 PM EST
    It is probably true that if blacks voted GOP the the NOLA story would be a very different one, iow, politics trumps racism...  And Letten sure did not step in to investigate the fact that Vitter, Mr Family Values was patronizing prostitutes. Guess that only happens to Democrats.. lol
    After meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said he anticipates the Justice Department will soon "make clear that Jim Letten" will keep his job as the New Orleans area's top federal prosecutor.

    Vitter said the expected clarification that Letten's job is secure as U.S. attorney means the senator will drop his holds on several of President Barack Obama's Louisiana criminal justice nominees.

    When the last line of defense (none / 0) (#29)
    by BTAL on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 04:03:37 PM EST
    is complete subject deflection, it is time to stop debating.

    Yeah, what James said (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 01:18:20 PM EST
    Proof? (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 02:07:15 PM EST
    Going with my gut :) (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 02:57:47 PM EST
    Proof schmoof....Dubya taught me that the gut knows all.

    Oh, I forgot. (none / 0) (#31)
    by JamesTX on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 06:22:16 PM EST
    Obviously, most questionable police shootings in the last few years have resulted in convictions. You know me...making stuff up again!

    A little late (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 12:56:03 PM EST
    It is hard for me to fathom that they initiated anything for any reason greater than trying to avoid campaign and election consequences for the Republican party.  And investigating anything doesn't mean that justice will be served.  If anyone made that more obvious than the Bush administration, I wasn't alive yet to see it and experience it and live it :)

    Hopefully, this is not in the (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Untold Story on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 01:19:29 PM EST
    same spirit re avoidance of campaign and election consequences because of the BP catastrophic event devastrating the economy of Louisiana and neighboring Gulf states!

    Until we have term limits and campaign funding reform, the same old politicans will be embedded in corruption (and I don't care what party - it is all from the same mould of 'knowing one's way around Washington!).

    Obama has his hands tied to the whims of these old 'career' politicans and their self-interests always put before that of the people they are supposed to serve.  

    Obama, under the circumstances is doing a great job - unfortunately, his potential is much higher and will only be able to reach his goals with a second term when people are wise enough to vote these career criminals, sorry, meant politicans out of office.  IMO

    The mayor of NO seems to have gotten off free and clear - where are his consequences?  Buses that should have been filled with people sitting idle during this havoc - of course he didn't actually shoot anyone in the back, but he is responsible and should be held responsible for deaths nonetheless.

    In my opinion only.


    Or it is as simple as stated in the article (none / 0) (#8)
    by BTAL on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 01:02:51 PM EST
    The charges, unsealed Tuesday, are the culmination of a two-year probe by the federal government, the third investigation into the hugely controversial events that took place on the bridge on Sept. 4, 2005. The first inquiry, led by police, found no wrongdoing by officers. A state grand jury convened to look into the matter charged seven officers with murder, but the case later fell apart.

    They stepped in when the local and state investigations failed.  


    I'm sure they stepped in because (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 01:17:47 PM EST
    everything else fell apart.  And it was probably someone working there that is a regular who worked to have any sort of investigawtion conducted. It isn't as if the DOJ regular staff didn't know buckaroo Bush was on his way out. Do I think that anything would have actually happened under Bush though?  NO, an investigation is one thing but follow through is a very different thing.  Laying down the law with an indictment, that is stamping the Obama name on it and is much different than investigating IMO.

    So you think they (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 02:06:32 PM EST
    should have just dumped the investigation??

    Like, maybe, the Phil voter injunctions?

    Come on MT, give some credit where it is due or just say, "Hey I hate Bush-Cheney and will complain about them at every opportunity."

    Nothing wrong with being a partisan Democrat.


    You want me to give some credit (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:00:19 PM EST
    to the regulars at the DOJ who go to work and do the job they are supposed to do as Presidents and their lack of accountability come and go...Okay, I will :)

    And I'm happy (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 08:23:18 AM EST
    that no political appointee stepped in and had the charges reduced and stopped future investigation.

    But then, who would do that?



    New Orleans (none / 0) (#1)
    by Untold Story on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 10:08:33 AM EST
    and, imo, the State of Louisiana has been dysfunctional and corrupt even on their best days.

    What surprises me is that some of these officers are still on the force - five years later?

    The cover-up and the lies, after the fact, eradicates imo what someone's state of mind was at the time of the incident - which anyone can understand was beyond belief with parts of the city under water and people fleeing for their lives!

    My opinion only

    Just saw a headline (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 11:03:41 AM EST
    That they could face the death penalty.

    Already so noted in TL's post (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Peter G on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 11:20:58 AM EST
    And yes, as amended in 1994, the anti-Ku Klux Act of 1866, which makes it a federal crime to conspire to violate a person's constitutional rights, or to act under color of law to violate constitutional rights, now authorizes capital punishment "if death results."  Since the specific intent required for conviction is the intent to violate the victim's civil rights, and not necessarily the intent to kill, I am not sure that particular penalty provision is constitutional.  I am wondering if it has ever before been invoked.

    I fully expect this (none / 0) (#18)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:07:59 PM EST
    to get played up on Fox- "Obama admin lets Black Panthers go, seeks Death Penalty against white cops"

    Please, the cops were black (none / 0) (#21)
    by Untold Story on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:26:23 PM EST
    and white - who cares what color anyone is - does it make the deceased any less dead?

    The mayor was black - is that the reason he isn't (none / 0) (#23)
    by Untold Story on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:27:36 PM EST
    tried for murder as well according to your thinking?

    Truth is best defense (none / 0) (#22)
    by diogenes on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:27:07 PM EST
    If it is true that there was a good reason for no Black Panther charges in Philadelphia and for charges against white New Orleans cops, then Obama should be proud of it and proud to have Fox publicize it.

    correction (none / 0) (#24)
    by diogenes on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:28:01 PM EST
    "charges against New Orleans cops".

    Don't misread the press release (none / 0) (#27)
    by Peter G on Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 03:49:58 PM EST
    It does NOT say that the DOJ ("Obama administration" if you like) is seeking the death penalty.  The death penalty is available for this offense, when a victim's death results; that's all.  The process for deciding whether the government will seek the death penalty is separate, and occurs later. I strongly suspect they will not, as the facts sound - at first blush - more like a voluntary manslaughter situation than like first degree murder.  In any event, don't get ahead of yourself. This is not (at least, not yet) a capital prosecution.  That said, I understand that one New Orleans former cop is in fact on death row in Louisiana now for post-Katrina fatal misconduct.