Five NOPD officers guilty in post-Katrina Danziger Bridge shootings, cover-up

(NOLA.com) – A jury this morning convicted all five New Orleans police officers accused in the Danziger Bridge shootings, which took place amid the chaos following Hurricane Katrina and claimed the lives of two civilians, and a cover-up of startling scope that lasted almost five years.

The verdicts were a huge victory for federal prosecutors, who won on virtually every point, save for their contention that the shootings were the equivalent of murder. The jury rejected that notion, finding that the officers violated the victims’ civil rights, but that their actions did not constitute murder.

The landmark civil-rights case — one of four major federal cases involving use of force by New Orleans police to result in indictments so far — has been closely watched around the nation.

Because of its sheer magnitude, the Danziger case was the most high-stakes of the nine civil-rights probes into NOPD the Justice Department has confirmed.

The verdict comes at a pivotal moment for the long-troubled New Orleans Police Department, which has been and remains under heavy scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department. Earlier this year, the department’s civil litigation section issued a blistering report about the NOPD that found systemic problems within the agency.

Officer Lehrmann: “Kaufman told him that Faulcon had shot an innocent man.”  

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

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