In a damning 129-page order, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt granted a new trial for the five New Orleans Police Department officers convicted of shooting at unarmed people on the Danziger Bridge and covering up the events in the days following Hurricane Katrina. James Brissette and Ronald Madison were killed. Four others were wounded.
Engelhardt granted the motion filed by former NOPD Sgt. Archie Kaufman, as well as Kenneth Bowen, Robert Faulcon, Robert Gisevius and Anthony Villavaso.
Engelhardt largely based his ruling on what he calls a campaign to influence the media of NOPD's culture of corruption, and the "carnival atmosphere" of online comments from former prosecutors who used several aliases to discuss the case. The commenters — Sal Perricone and Jan Mann — were not directly involved with the case, but Engelhardt noted in his order that the case was intended to be about the gross misconduct of NOPD officers and ended with other acts of misconduct on the prosecuting side.
In 2011, a federal jury found the officers guilty on 25 counts, including falsification of witness statements, fabrication of evidence, making false statements to the FBI, deprivation of civil rights, and obstruction of justice. The jury did not find the shootings constituted murder, though Bowen, Falucon, Gisevius and Villavaso were convicted of firing their weapons. They were sentenced in April 2012 to up to 65 years in prison. Kaufman was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the cover up.
Brothers Akein and Shawn Scott pleaded not guilty this morning to 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder.
The New Orleans Police Department charges that Akein Scott, 19, fired into the crowd at the Original Big 7 Social Aid & Pleasure Club second line parade on Mother's Day, injuring 20 people. Akein and Shawn — who allegedly appears with Akein in video surveillance footage — were charged with 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder and 14 counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. The brothers are represented by the Orleans Parish Public Defenders Office.
The federal consent decree to monitor the New Orleans Police Department, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice, is postponed, again. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency stay this afternoon. A selection committee meeting previously scheduled for tomorrow to select a monitoring firm has been canceled.
U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan signed the decree in January. Extensions on the monitor selection process and pushback from the city already have delayed the decree. Today's appeals court ruling now "puts it in limbo."
The New Orleans Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in locating a stolen statue of a pig in a chef’s outfit. The statue was stolen on the morning of May 1, 2013 during Jazz Fest weekend.
Possible scenario: Swept up in the reverie of a musical weekend, the thieves stumbled upon their new pig friend and invited it to their Hawaiian shirt and straw fedora Bacchanalia. Or, a hooded Chik-Fil-A employee removed the statue as a message — the consequence of slogan copywright infringement. Or, the pig was a witness. To what? We may never know.
Anyone with information as to the location of the pig is asked to notify Detective Robert Stoltz, First District Investigations, 504-658-6012, email@example.com, 911, or Crime Stoppers at 504-822-1111 or toll free at 1-877-903-7867.
New Orleans Police Department officers arrested another suspect related to the Mother's Day second line shootings. This afternoon, Monique Pepe, 19, was charged with being an accessory to attempted second degree murder for allegedly hiding 24-year-old Shawn Scott, who was arrested along with his 19-year-old brother Akein Scott. Authorities identified the brothers as the shooters.
Pepe also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of heroin, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.
Pepe's arrest brings the number of arrests to seven in connection to the shootings. Yesterday morning, authorities also arrested Justin Alexander, 19, Brandy George, 28, Bionca Hickerson, 22, and Nekia Youngblood, 32, who allegedly helped hide Akein Scott. They all were charged with accessory after the fact to attempted second degree murder and obstruction of justice for harboring a fugitive.
Returning to the intersection of Frenchmen and North Villere streets, city officials and law enforcement announced the capture of second line shooting suspect Akein Scott as well as his brother, 24-year-old Shawn Scott, and four others.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas confirmed Shawn Scott as the second shooting suspect. In 2007, Scott pleaded guilty in possession of cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to five years probation. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin and was to serve an eight year sentence. He was out on parole until December 2015. Like his brother Akein, Scott was charged this morning with 20 counts of second degree attempted murder. (A person was trampled by the crowd following the shooting and has been identified among the victims, hence the 20 counts of attempted second degree murder.)
"Shawn has a lengthy record and has demonstrated his contempt for New Orleans," Serpas said.
Serpas also announced Justin Alexander, 19, Brandy George, 28, Bionca Hickerson, 22, and Nekia Youngblood, 32, allegedly helped hide Akein Scott. They all have been charged with accessory after the fact to attempted second degree murder and obstruction of justice for harboring a fugitive.
Akein Scott, the 19-year-old suspect in the Mother's Day second line shootings, was arrested from a home in the Little Woods neighborhood in eastern New Orleans late last night. He appeared in Orleans Parish Magistrate Court this morning with bail set at $500,000 for each charge — Scott was booked with 20 counts of attempted second degree murder. His bail is set at $10 million.
Scott was scheduled to appear in court today on unrelated charges from an arrest in March, when he was allegedly found with a stolen gun and heroin. He was charged with possession of stolen firearms, possession of heroin and resisting an officer. He was released on bail last month, which Mayor Mitch Landrieu said "was a mistake." Landrieu has requested judges to set bail no lower than $30,000 on gun charges. "Unfortunately, some judges in this building have ignored that request," Landrieu said.
At around 3 a.m. Thursday, Scott was booked with 20 counts of attempted second degree murder.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas said he believes Scott has ties to gang activity, and WWL-TV reports NOPD is searching for a possible second gunman.
A press conference with Landrieu, Serpas and other city officials is set for noon at the corner of N. Villere and Frenchmen streets, where the shooting occurred.
Original Big 7 Social Aid & Pleasure Club organizers announced it will "re-do" its second line parade, interrupted by the shooting at its Mother's Day procession, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. It will follow the same route.
At Monday night's community rally on Frenchmen Street, Big 7 manager Dismas Johnson said the group had been in talks with Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans Police Department to find an appropriate day to schedule the parade. "It's something that's got to go on," Johnson said.
The group announced it also is accepting donations at this fundraising website or by mail to 1823 Elysian Fields Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117.
The Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club community is deeply saddened by the foolish violence that took place during our annual Mother’s Day’s Parade. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the victims of this tragedy and their families. We are with them in the struggle for health, wellness, and justice.
We are proud to announce that we will be doing a Re-Do Mother’s Day Parade On Saturday June 1, 2013 at 1pm on the same exact route. ... We are starting a donation fund for the Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club to Re-Parade; the donations are to pay for the brass bands and for the victims affected by the violence that accorded on Mother’s Day.
On Sunday, hours after the Mother’s Day shooting in the Seventh Ward, FBI New Orleans spokeswoman Mary Beth Romig told the Associated Press the gunfire that injured 19 people was, as far as federal investigators knew, not an act of terrorism. “It’s strictly an act of street violence,” Romig said.
Today, on the WWL Eyewitness Morning News, Mayor Mitch Landrieu disagreed. Asked by Sally-Ann Roberts if he considered the shooting to be terrorism, Landrieu said, “I think so. I’ve talked about whether people are terrorized by activities. People use that term in a dramatic way, like it has to be somebody from outside threatening us on the inside. But the truth of the matter is, every day in neighborhoods across the city — this city and other cities — you have families that are afraid of going outside.”
So what defines an "act of terror" versus an act that causes a neighborhood or a city to live in terror?
I think this is the best thing, and absolutely stoked that this is going on…
A Governor in Diapers - yeah that's JUST what we need!
DIAPER MAN to the rescue. Because the state wasn't f**** up enough already after the…
To all the Black Men of Labor. You are needed today as you were yesterday…
Rouse's keeps it local - no need for more big corporate stores when we have…
Philomena was not in a Magdalene Laundry -- she was in an Irish mother-baby home…
The Colonel is right and don't forget Whole Foods which will open soon right in…
Good for Rouses. After the events of 2005 Winn Dixie abandoned NOLA. Rouses had the…
Let's put this utility rate thing in a little perspective in terms of the earning…
Those City Council advisors don't want to lose their $7.1 million dollar paycheck. If the…
Yes in deed
Can we get Dogfish Head IPA here, please???