6 New Orleans officers charged in Katrina shootings

A symbolic burial service in honor of the unclaimed bodies left behind by Hurricane Katrina. The solemn ceremonies mark the third anniversary of the killer storm. Video by AP
Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Six officers charged in Katrina shootings

Six New Orleans police officers have been charged with federal civil rights violations in the deadly shootings of unarmed people on a bridge in the chaos after Hurricane Katrina, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors unsealed a 27-count indictment that charged three officers and one former officer with the killing and subsequent coverup of the deaths of James Brissette, a 17-year-old New Orleans resident, and Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man who had disabilities and was shot in the back.

The officers were armed with two AK-47 assault rifles, a shotgun and an M-4-type assault rifle, among other weapons, during two incidents that occurred within minutes of each other on the Danziger Bridge a few days after Katrina hit the city. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

Two supervisors were charged with helping to cover up the incident and obstructing the investigation.

Five former New Orleans police officers have pleaded guilty to helping cover up the shootings.

-- From news services


Ex-mayor says he can't afford lawyer

Former Detroit mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick pleaded poverty Tuesday and was granted a lawyer at public expense to defend him against charges that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars collected for a charity on himself and his family.

Kilpatrick (D) waived a reading of the tax and fraud charges during his first court appearance since being indicted last month. A not-guilty plea was entered.

Kilpatrick's longtime lawyer, James Thomas, is expected to remain as his defense attorney, although taxpayers will pick up the tab.

Kilpatrick resigned in September 2008 as part of a plea deal to settle criminal charges in an unrelated case in state court. He was sent to prison in May, for 14 months to five years, for violating probation in that case.

-- Associated Press

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