Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.
One of the grimmest legacies of Hurricane Katrina, the fatal shooting of two unarmed New Orleans men by police on Danziger Bridge, finally came to a close Wednesday with tough sentences for four of the five officers convicted in the case.
The Associated Press reports that a federal judge handed down the harshest sentence to former officer Robert Faulcon Jr., who received 65 years in prison for his role in both shootings. Former officers Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius each received 40 years, and Anthony Villavaso received 38 years. A fifth, retired officer, Arthur Kaufman, received a six-year sentence.
The officers were convicted last August of a combined 25 civil rights violations and a cover-up attempt in the shooting, in which an unarmed 17-year-old boy and mentally disabled 40-year-old man were killed under heavy fire. None of the officers were convicted on murder charges. Faulcon earned the stiffest sentence because he was the only officer linked to the second killing; Kaufman was convicted only in the cover-up.
The federal charges handed down in the case were the result of a probe into the New Orleans Police Department's actions in the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina. But the federal judge who sentenced the officers Wednesday did not seem satisfied with the result, decrying the deals the government gave to cooperating officers from the department. "Using liars to convict liars is no way to pursue justice," he said. "Pursuing perjury charges at this trial would be like giving out speeding tickets at the Indy 500."
Head to NOLA.com for a complete account of the sentencing and the judge’s remarks.