The harrowing details behind the five ex-police officers who shot unarmed persons a week after the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans are still bone chilling. Wednesday (April 4), however, the crooked cops were brought to justice after first being convicted by a federal jury in August of 2011.
Officers Robert Faulcon, Robert Gisevius, Kenneth Bowen, Anthony Villavaso and mastermind Arthur Kaufman were all slapped with sentences in New Orleans U.S. District Court ranging from six to 65 years stemming from the civil rights investigation.
The men were all involved in a cover up after maliciously killing teenager James Brissette, mentally challenged man Ronald Madison, and the wounding of four others atop the Danzinger Bridge as survivors of the epic storm foraged for food and supplies. Kaufman, a since-retired sergeant of the force who was assigned to investigate the shootings, was charged with helping to hide the crimes of the officers. Although he was not charged with any of the shootings, he received the lightest sentence at six years.
Faulcon, an African-American man, received the harshest sentence at 65 years while Gisevius and Bowen both received 40 years for their involvement; Anthony Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years. The officers went to great lengths to exonerate themselves of the crimes, fabricating witness accounts, writing false reports and even conspiring to plant a gun at the scene. Judge Kurt Engelhardt presided over the case and listened to hours of testimony from attorneys on both sides and also heard from the relatives of both the officers and victims.
The sentenced officers plan to appeal the sentences, with other officers that were on the New Orleans police force during the Katrina debacle also facing charges and sentencing as well.
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Photo: AP/NY Daily News