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Tag: New Orleans

Fed Jury Convicts 5 Current and Former New Orleans Cops in Danziger Bridge Shootings

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A federal jury on Friday convicted five current and former New Orleans cops in the case involving the cover-up and shooting of six unarmed civilians on Danziger Bridge days after Katrina devastated the area, WWL TV reported. Two of the people died.

The station reported that defendants Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso were found guilty of the shooting of civilians and participation in the cover-up. Sgt. Arthur Kaufman was found guilty of the cover-up.

The case had been a serious blemish on a police department that had already been suffering from a less than ideal reputation.

To read the full story click here.

To read the charges click here.

For Ex-Congressman Jefferson, Justice Delayed Means Freedom

exRep. Jefferson at sentencing in 2009 /Sketch by Art Lien/NBC News

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There’s an old saying: “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.”

But for ex-Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, justice delayed means more FREEDOM.

Bruce Alpert, a star reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, reports : ” Almost two years after a federal jury found former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson guilty of 11 counts of public corruption, oral arguments in his appeal have again been delayed.”

Jefferson, now 64,  was sentenced in November 2009 to 13 years in prison, but has been allowed to remain free pending his appeal, which has been delayed and delayed.

The New Orleans paper reported that the  4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals initially scheduled a hearing on the matter in May, but delayed that until September after Jefferson’s lawyer said he need more time to recover from treatment for lymphoma.

Now, the court says it has scheduling conflicts and will hold the hearing in late October, the paper reported.

Jefferson gained national notoriety when the FBI raided his home on Capitol Hill in the summer of 2005 and recovered $90,000 in his freezer. The money had been given to him by a business woman who was working with the FBI as part of a sting.

He lost his bid for re-election in 2008.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Column: New Orlean’s U.S. Atty. Jim Letten Speaks of Diversity and the Arab-Muslim Community

U.S. Atty Jim Letten/gov photo

By Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney
New Orleans Times-Picayune Op-Ed Page

NEW ORLEANS — As we approach the 10th anniversary of the tragic Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and continue to defend against those who wage their vicious campaigns against us and our freedoms, it is essential that we look forward.

That is not to say that we need not remain ever more vigilant by fiercely, courageously and intelligently defending this great nation. It does mean, however, that our uniquely American way of life and our freedoms must be preserved as well — intact and for all who lawfully and in good faith embrace it and seek its protection and freedoms.

I write this piece as an American and as U.S. attorney — and to fulfill a promise I readily made to our friends and neighbors in our local Arab-Muslim community. I can proudly say that the citizens here in Southeast Louisiana have displayed the best of the American spirit in the tolerant, highly diverse gumbo of cultures that is quintessentially reflective of America as a whole.

But even in the greatest country in the world, assimilation can often be difficult and fraught with challenges. Nowhere has that cultural blending been tested more than with our Arab-Muslim neighbors. The consequences of an ongoing global war that we and our allies have waged against terrorists have at times included a backlash often directed against Arab and Muslim Americans.

To read full column click here.

FBI Agent Says He Doubted N.O. Cops Cover Up Story in Danziger Bridge Shootings

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The ugly chapter in New Orleans history — the shootings at Danziger Bridge in 2005 — continued to play out in a federal court Monday, with an FBI agent testifying about why he doubted what police were saying. Two unarmed people were killed and four were injured in the Post-Katrina shooting.

FBI Agent William Bezak told a federal jury in New Orleans that he had doubts about police claims that they were being shot at by civilians because the cops never took cover, Reuters news service reported.

Reuters reported that the agent, who had investigated the shooting,  recalled watching news videos of the Sept. 4, 2005 shooting.

“They’re literally standing tall and shooting up the bridge,” Bezak recalled of the officers.

The trial for five officers charged with shooting unarmed civilians is in its fourth week.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Gives Green Light to N.O. Police K-9 Unit After 6 Month Suspension


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Apparently it took a little Emily Post-like training to get the New Orleans Police K-9 unit on its best behavior.

The Justice Department has given the green light for the New Orleans Police Department to reactivate its canine unit following a six-month suspension, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

The Justice Department, which had been called in to review the police department operations, had recommended the suspension after it found that dog handlers in the K-9 unit weren’t able to control the dogs, which too often bit cooperative suspects, the paper reported.

The rate of dog bites was considered excessive for a K-9 unit, and some dogs were “almost completely uncontrollable,” the Picayune reported.

But now things are apparently better.

The paper noted that a police news release stated: “DOJ inspectors … stated that the dogs are now exceptionally trained and will undoubtedly be more effective in tracking down suspects and sniffing out illegal drugs.”

The Controversial TSA Patdown of a 6-Year-Old Girl

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Ex-New Orleans Cop and Current Cop Get Tough Sentences in Post-Katrina Shooting and Burning of Henry Glover

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex- New Orleans cop David Warren was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 25 years and nine months in prison for the Post-Katrina shooting  of civilian Henry Glover on Sept. 2, 2005, the Justice Department said.

A current officer Greg McRae got 17 years and three months for burning of the body and obstruction of justice.

Warren was found guilty by a federal jury of a civil rights violations  for shooting Glover. McRae was convicted of two civil rights violations, one count of obstructing justice and one count of using fire during the commission of a felony. McRae was charged with burning the Glover’s body inside a car.

Authorities said evidence at trial showed that Warren shot Glover as he approached the second floor of a strip mall which served as a police substation.  The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Glover and a friend “had gone to the mall to retrieve some items looted by friends.”

Glover’s brother and a friend flagged down a passing motorist, William Tanner, who put the wounded Glover in his car and tried to seek medical help, the Justice Department said.

But when the men drove up to a makeshift police station seeking help for Glover, police surrounded the men at gunpoint, handcuffed them and let Glover die in the back seat of the car, the Justice Department said.

Authorities said McRae then drove off with Tanner’s car, with Glover’s body inside, and burned both the body and the car with a traffic flare.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that U.S. District Judge Lance Africk told Warren during sentencing that using deadly force was unnecessary:   “You killed a man … Henry Glover was gunned down because you believed he was a looter.”

The judge also noted that he had gotten correspondence from some people who said Warren’s conviction would make officers question their right to protect themselves during chaotic incidents, the Picayune reported.

“I reject that argument.” Africk said. “You were not forced to respond to Henry Glover with deadly force.”

“Instead of upholding their oath to protect and serve the people of New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina, these officers abused their power, and violated the law and the public trust,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “Today’s sentence brings a measure of justice to the Glover family and to the entire city.”

New Orleans Man Arrested for Sending Threatening Emails to FBI Agent That Referenced Agent’s Son


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

We all get annoying emails – but these were apparently way over the top.

Authorities earlier this week arrested a New Orleans man for sending threatening emails to an FBI agent that referenced the agent’s son, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The paper reported that David Christenson Jr. , 53, was accused of sending the emails to FBI agent Steve Rayes on two occasions within a week

The emails came after Christenson ran into Rayes and his son in the Warehouse District in New Orleans on March 4, the paper reported, citing a police report. Rayes had interviewed the suspect in February over some inappropriate emails to judges and their employees, the paper reported.

The Times-Picayune reported that Christenson walked up to Rayes during the encounter in the Warehouse District “with a ‘wild, glazed look”on his face and tried to ask Rayes about his son, according to the police report. Rayes excused himself and kept walking with his son, the report said.”

The next day, Christenson allegedly sent  Rayes an email, according to l that said: “You have no idea how strange it was to run into you and your son last night … Your son is now connected to this bizarre story. Being connected to me is not usually a good thing. I am sorry. You and your son will be in my prayers.”

On March 11,  he sent another letter that allegedly said:  “You got your son involved. Why? … A lot of people who are connected (to) me are dying … YOU SHOULD ALL BE VERY CAREFUL.”