Seven NOLA cops indicted for Katrina shootings
Seven New Orleans police officers turned themselves in at the city jail Tuesday, having been indicted by a grand jury in connection with the Danziger Bridge shootings after Hurricane Katrina. Four officers face first-degree murder charges, and three others have been charged with attempted murder :
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Seven policemen charged in a deadly shooting in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina turned themselves in Tuesday at the city jail, where more than 200 supporters greeted them in a show of solidarity.
Each of the indicted men faces at least one charge of murder or attempted murder in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge less than a week after the hurricane hit New Orleans. Two people died and four people were wounded. [AP]
The officers maintain their innocence. The AP doesn't mention this, but the Times Picayune notes that counter-protesters also showed up to watch the officers surrender.
The alleged crimes took place the week after Hurricane Katrina, while most of New Orleans was still under water. According to initial reports, the police killed a group of snipers who had been shooting at relief contractors on September 4, 2005. However, within months, the official story was called into question by survivors from two New Orleans families who came under fire on the bridge that day.
One teenaged victim says he was shot several times for no reason, at least once at point-blank range. A 40-year-old retarded man and a teenager died of their wounds. Four other civilians were injured in the shooting. Allegedly, a gun was found on the scene the next day but there is no evidence that it belonged to any of the victims.
John Burnett of NPR did an excellent piece on the Danziger shootings and the federal civil rights lawsuits launched against the police.
(This photograph by fotogail was taken a few months post-Katrina, but it's not connected to the Danziger Bridge incident.)