Danziger Bridge Verdict: Guilty
Posted on Aug 5, 2011 in Katrina, Local Issues, NOPD
This morning, after three days of deliberation, the jury of the Danziger Bridge police corruption trial returned the same verdict for all five officers on trial: guilty.
Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavasoare have been convicted of obstructing justice by covering up the events of September 4, 2005 and of civil rights violations, which carries a heavy sentence. A fifth officer, Arthur Kaufman, was found guilty of aiding in the cover but was not present for the shooting deaths of Ronald Madison or James Brissette.
While the US prosecutors were successful in the trial, they failed to convince the jury that the shootings amounted to murder. In light of the extraordinary circumstances after Katrina and the fact that officers in the area had been fired upon, the jury felt the officers were accountable for the lesser crime of man slaughter.
The Times Picayune has a full list of the charges and verdicts of the trial on nola.com.
The general feeling in the city is that justice has been served. The NOPD has been under a lot of increased after high profile cases and embarrassing department assessments. A guilty verdict may not raise the city’s view of the NOPD, but it can restore faith in the city’s justice system as a whole.