Facing South

Former New Orleans police detective pleads guilty in Katrina shooting cover-up

By A.C. Thompson, ProPublica

Former New Orleans Police Department Lt. Michael Lohman pleaded
guilty to a single count of conspiring to obstruct justice, in
connection with one of a string of violent encounters between police
and civilians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Police
shot at least 10 people during the week after the storm made landfall.
(We have been investigating the shootings, along with our partners the New Orleans Times-Picayune and PBS "Frontline.")

Lohman's guilty plea stems from the so-called Danziger Bridge incident
of Sept. 4, 2005. Responding to an emergency call that day, New Orleans
police officers shot six citizens -- killing two -- on and around the span.

The Times-Picayune has been covering the Danziger Bridge shootings from the start and it has the latest.

Lohman helped orchestrate the police's investigation of the
shooting, a probe portrayed in the bill of information as an attempted
cover-up. The former lieutenant was involved in planting a handgun at
the scene, drafted phony police reports, and lied to federal agents,
according the court document. (The New York Times has good details on the alleged cover-up. And we at ProPublica have posted the bill of information in our easy-to-read document viewer.)

Lohman's plea is the clearest indicator yet that the federal
government -- which for more than a year now has been investigating the
New Orleans Police Department's actions in the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina -- is mounting a two-pronged probe: federal prosecutors and the
FBI are scrutinizing incidents in which police shot civilians in the
chaotic days after the storm, as well as the alleged efforts of other
officers to cover-up those shootings. 

Defense attorneys familiar with the widening federal probe say the Justice Department is looking at the death of Henry Glover as a possible cover-up, as well. Glover was shot on Sept. 2, 2005 -- possibly by NOPD officer David Warren -- and
died, according to three witnesses, at a makeshift police compound in
the Algiers section of New Orleans. His charred remains were later
discovered in an incinerated car dumped on a Mississippi River levee.

Federal agents began examining Glover's death after ProPublica, in conjunction with The Nation magazine, reported on the case in late 2008.

In recent weeks, the Justice Department has begun looking at three other post-Katrina incidents -- the shootings of Danny Brumfield, Matthew McDonald and Keenon McCann,
all of whom were shot by NOPD officers in the week after the hurricane
made landfall. Brumfield and McDonald died; McCann was injured but
survived to file a lawsuit against the police department. He was shot
to death by an unknown assailant in 2008 while the suit was pending.

The NOPD, like most police departments, conducts an investigation every
time an officer opens fire on a citizen -- the goal is to make sure the
shooting was proper and justified. As a general rule, officers are
allowed to use deadly force only when confronted by a person posing a
physical threat, either to the officer or another civilian.

However, a joint effort by reporters with ProPublica, the New Orleans Times-Picayune
and PBS "Frontline" found that NOPD investigators did little to
determine whether officers acted appropriately when they shot
Brumfield, McDonald and McCann. NOPD detectives collected little
physical evidence, spoke to few civilian witnesses, and conducted brief
interviews -- ranging from seven to 12 minutes -- with the officers involved
in the shootings.


People Referenced:


re: Former New Orleans police detective pleads guilty in Katrina

The police of Natchitoches, La. similarly covered up the sustained criminal abuse and consequent homicide of my late elderly and disabled father at about the same time as the Danziger Bridge incident. The cover-up was originally undertaken and maintained to protect an attorney and public official who had defrauded him of his savings and subsequently to avoid responsibility for the department's failure to protect him during two-and-one-half years of urgent warning.

The essential difference between my father's example and the Danziger case is the whimsical participation of the press. Hurricanes are not preventable whereas elder abuse and public corruption are.

see: http://bellsouthpwp.net/b/a/baxterericweb/draft/Police_Dove.pdf

re: Former New Orleans police detective pleads guilty in Katrina

Decades of horrific New Orleans Civil Rights violations by its police, by elected officials and by sitting judges, make it hard not to suspect the motives of the newly launched local FBI probe into NOPD conduct, now that the Hurricane Katrina shooting cover-up has nationwide attention. There is no doubt in my mind, if the powers-that-be had any idea that the former NOPD supervisor would reveal the hatched covered up shooting of 6 unarmed people, the ex-cop would have been given a deal he could not refuse; or he would be assured that his loved ones would be very uncomfortable or unemployed. By the same token, it is common knowledge that just about anything can be done / can happen to anyone by New Orleans police -and there could be no retribution for unlawful acts, unless /until someone takes a chance and publicly snitches (or some person has nothing else to lose by telling all).

Long before creating the city's new Office of 'Inspector', New Orleans already had numerous so-called other law enforcement means, aside from what is referred to as its police department and local FBI. There's the Metropolitan Crime Commission, the City DA, the plethora of (corrupt) civil and federal courts, and the U.S. Attorney's office that is run by Mr. Jim Letten. Ironically, when unwary citizens report wrongdoings to those agencies, the only noticeable result is that the wrongdoers become better alerted as to which areas of their crimes require better secrecy. However, the City would not need an added expense of that 'Inspector' which actually overlaps / duplicates its already-in-place authorities, if those authorities would. . .READ entire article at: