Four former NOPD officers who shot six unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have pleaded guilty.
“Four former New Orleans police officers were sentenced Wednesday (April 20) to prison terms of 7 to 12 years for the brutal shootings of six unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge days after Hurricane Katrina, closing the gravest case of police brutality in the storm’s aftermath,” reported NOLA. “A fifth former officer was sentenced to three years for his role in a subsequent cover-up of the Sept. 4, 2005, incident.”
After a federal judge learned that the prosecutors had engaged in “grotesque” misconduct, a new trail was ordered and they were given their new sentences.
“On September 4, 2005, initial police accounts said officers responded to reports of gunshots on the bridge and that a running gun battle ensued with six suspects. Two people, a disabled man and teenager, were killed and four were seriously wounded in what officers involved claimed was self-defense. A witness, however, told CNN in 2006 that police lined up ‘like at a firing range’ and fatally shot an unarmed man in the back as he fled from them. Others on the bridge said police ambushed them.”
“While an imperfect resolution, today’s proceeding ensures that these defendants are held accountable for their criminal actions,” read a statement from U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite. “Those of us who continue to serve as prosecutors must embrace the lessons learned from this Danziger case.”
Sherrell Johnson, mother of James Brissette who was gunned down by NOPD on the Danziger Bridge, seemed to find some closure.
“I finally got what I wanted, someone confessed,” she said.
Featured image: New Orleans police officers, their attorneys and supporters arrive to turn themselves in at the city jail in New Orleans. (MSNBC)