Us Attorney Jim Letten was joined by representatives from his office's Civil Rights Division and the New Orleans Field Office of the FBI this afternoon on the steps of the Federal courthouse on Poydras Street to announce the indictment of three current and two former New Orleans Police Department officers in the shooting and burning of Henry Glover, a New Orleans resident, in the days following Hurricane Katrina.
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The shooting took place on September 2, 2005, in Algiers.
"The investigation continues, as do other civil rights investigations and we will follow them aggressively wherever they lead us," said Letten. "We will follow them aggressively and fairly and it is our intention to make certain that the people of the City of New Orleans and the region, including our most vulnerable citizens, are able to rely on, trust, and respect the law enforcement who serve them. And we will make certain we do everything in our power to achieve that."
A grand jury returned 11 federal indictments against the men today, and former officer David Warren was arrested shortly afterwards, Letten said. Warren is charged with shooting and killing Glover, and faces a possible sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Liutenant Dwayne Scheuermann and Officer Gregory McRae are charged with assaulting civilians who came to Glover's aid, burning Glover's body, and the 2001 Chevrolet Malibu in which his body was found, as well as obstructing a federal investigation and using fire in the commission of a federal offense. They each face a possible maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, and fines of $1,000,000.
Former Lieutenant Robert Italiano and Lieutenant Travis McCabe are charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly authoring and submitting a false report about the incident. Italiano is charged with making allegedly false statements to the FBI during the course of the federal investigation into the incident while McCabe is charged with making false statements to the FBI, and with providing false statements to a federal Grand Jury. Italiano faces a possible maximum of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, while McCabe faces a possible maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine."
Officer Dwayne Scheuermann was nominated as a "hero of the storm" in a WDSU-TV contest, for making boat rescues after Hurricane Katrina. His three daughters wrote to the The Times Picayune in January of this year, defending him against the allegations: "Our dad, along with other dedicated cops, saved hundreds and never asked for anything in return," they wrote.
Letten was asked to comment on the turnaround in Scheuermann's reputation this afternoon.
"It wouldn't be fair for me to talk about those things, to talk about roles," he said. "All of us every day in public service, certainly law enforcement officers, police, owe 150% of their integrity, their fairness, their honesty, their service to the public. Our most sacred obligation is to the people we serve..."
Letten also paid "appropriate credit" to press accounts in the The Nation and The Times Picayune, "that were illustrative and certainly helped us, the federal authorities, to know where to look."
The 19 Fund benefit at Tipitina's (tonight!), Ola Podrida at the Circle Bar, I Killed My Mother, the Greek Festival, the Asian-Pacific Festival at Audubon Zoo, Redesigning Women at Mid-City Theatre and more.