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Judge Criticizes ‘Despicable Conduct’ by Police in Katrina Shootings Cover-up

Posted Mar 12, 2010 2:51 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A second police officer has pleaded guilty to helping cover up police shootings after Hurricane Katrina that left two unarmed men dead and four others wounded.

The victims has been crossing the Danziger Bridge in search of food on Sept. 5, 2005, when officers opened fire, according to the Associated Press and the New Orleans Times Picayune. Former police officer Jeffrey Lehrmann, now a U.S. immigration agent, pleaded guilty on Thursday to failing to report a crime in connection with the incident.

Lehrmann was accused of aiding in a plot to plant a gun at the scene to make it appear as if the shootings were justified, the story says. Last month, retired New Orleans police officer Michael Lohman pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to obstruct justice in the case.

New details revealed this week allege police held a secret meeting to coordinate their stories and hoped to use Hurricane Katrina as an excuse for failures in the investigation.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk said the alleged plot compounded the damage from the storm, the stories say. ''I have neither imagined or heard of more despicable conduct by law enforcement officers,” he said.

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