Posted Apr 04, 2012 08:49 pm CDT
After hearing wrenching testimony from both sides, a federal judge in New Orleans on Wednesday imposed stiff sentences on four of the five former police officers convicted in a post-Hurricane Katrina shooting of six unarmed civilians on Danziger Bridge and a subsequent cover-up.
The four defendants who actually sprayed the bridge with gunfire from AK-47s and an M-4 rifle or shot an unarmed man in the back with a shotgun a week after the storm struck New Orleans in 2005 got prison sentences ranging from 38 years to 65 years, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
The lead investigator, who was not involved in the shootings but submitted reports with fabricated or false evidence, got six years. His lawyer, Stephen London, said sentencing guidelines called for an eight- to 12-year term, and prosecutors had sought 20 years.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said he was “astonished and deeply troubled” by the plea deals cut with witnesses by the government. A partner of an officer who was sentenced to 38 years, for example, got a five-year sentence as a result of cooperating, the newspaper reports.
The Times-Picayune provides a Web page linking to its prior coverage in the case.
Additional and related coverage:
ABAJournal.com: “Motion: Dismiss ‘Tainted’ Case Against Police Sgt Accused in Katrina Danziger Bridge Killings”
ABAJournal.com: “Ex-New Orleans Police Officer Gets 25 Years for Slaying Unarmed Civilian in Katrina Aftermath”
Times-Picayune: “Judge rejects request to toss parts of Danziger Bridge trial convictions”