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Seven police officers indicted for murder in Katrina aftermath

Seven police officers indicted for murder in Katrina aftermath

Four New Orleans police officers were charged with first-degree murder in connection with two fatal shootings during Hurricane Katrina's chaotic aftermath.
Three other officers were charged with attempted murder in the shootings, which also injured four civilians. A state district judge Thursday gave the officers 24 hours to surrender.
The shootings became one of the most widely cited examples of the chaos that ensued after Katrina flooded 80 percent of the city in August 2005.
"We cannot allow our police officers to shoot and kill our citizens without justification like rabid dogs," District Attorney Eddie Jordan said.
At a news conference late Thursday, Police Superintendent Warren Riley said the indictments were only the first step in the judicial process and "not where it ends."
"A jury of their peers will decide their guilt or innocent," Riley said, calling Jordan's comments "highly unprofessional, highly prejudicial and highly undignified."
"We want justice first and foremost, " he said. "But for the district attorney to try and prejudice the community against these officers before all the evidence is heard is really, I think, a sad day for the city."
The indictments were the latest blow to the police department's reputation. Police Superintendent Warren Riley has said the majority of his 1,500-member force performed heroically during and after Katrina, but he has acknowledged more than 200 were disciplined for various offenses, including failure to show up after the storm. Some were accused of looting.
Defense attorneys for the indicted officers said their clients are innocent. "As a wise man once said, a district attorney can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich," said Franz Zibilich, attorney for officer Robert Faulcon, who is charged with murder. "They heard only one side of the story."
Faulcon was charged with first-degree murder in Madison's death. Faulcon and three others - Sergeant Kenneth Bowen, officer Anthony Villavaso and officer Robert Gisevius - were charged with first-degree murder in Brissette's death.
Officer Robert Barrios faces multiple counts of attempted first-degree murder, officer Mike Hunter is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and officer Ignatius Hills is charged with attempted second-degree murder.


Updated : 2021-07-30 07:16 GMT+08:00