Home Front Page Five New Orleans policemen sentenced in Katrina Danziger Bridge shootings case

Five New Orleans policemen sentenced in Katrina Danziger Bridge shootings case


Five former New Orleans police officers, who shot dead two unarmed civilians and wounded another four on a bridge in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, have been jailed.

The prison terms range from six to 65 years for the shootings on the Danziger Bridge in September 2005.

Four of the officers were found guilty of firearms offences and the fifth was jailed for helping the cover-up.

The officers planted a gun and fabricated witnesses and false reports to make the shootings appear justified.

Robert Faulcon, 48, received the longest sentence of 65 years; Kenneth Bowen, 38, and Robert Gisevius, 39, received 40 years each; and Anthony Villavaso, 35, was sentenced to 38 years in prison.

Retired Sgt Arthur Kaufman, 55, the officer who was assigned to investigate the shootings, received a six-year prison sentence for helping to co-ordinate the cover-up.


Robert Faulcon received the longest sentence of 65 years, Robert Gisevius and Kenneth Bowen received 40 years each and Anthony Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years in prison

Robert Faulcon received the longest sentence of 65 years, Robert Gisevius and Kenneth Bowen received 40 years each and Anthony Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years in prison

On 4 September 2005, the police responded to a distress call from officers at Danziger Bridge, reporting gunfire.

The officers opened fire with assault rifles and a shotgun at an unarmed family walking on the bridge and at a man fleeing the scene.

A New Orleans couple, their daughter, and their nephew, were wounded and a family friend, 17-year-old James Brissette, was killed.

Ronald Madison, 40, who had mental and physical disabilities, also died on the bridge. He was shot in the back with a shotgun as he ran away.

It took five years to establish the details of what happened on the bridge.

Arthur Kaufman is the only officer who was not already imprisoned when the sentences were handed down. He is due to report to prison on 23 May, the Times Picayune newspaper reports.

The courtroom was packed with relatives and friends of the victims and policemen.

The case was part of a wider effort from the Department of Justice to clean up the New Orleans Police Department.

Hurricane Katrina battered through the city’s poorly maintained levees on 29 August 2005, flooding most of the city and stranding thousands of people on rooftops.

 

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