By Sabrina Shankman, ProPublica
Former New Orleans Police Officer Jeffrey Lehrmann was sentenced
Wednesday to three years in federal prison for his part in the cover-up
of the Danziger Bridge shootings, our partners at the New Orleans
Times-Picayune reported today.
Lehrmann is one of 11 officers who have been charged in the Sept. 4,
2005 incident, in which police officers opened fire on unarmed
civilians, killing two and wounding four others. He was the first of
five officers to cooperate with federal investigators.
Lehrmann pleaded guilty in February to concealing a crime, after
coming forward and disclosing his role in an extensive cover-up that
followed the shootings. According to the bill of information filed by
the U.S. Department of Justice, Lehrmann "participated in the creation
of false reports" and provided "false information to investigating
agents." He is the first to be sentenced in the case and is expected to
testify in the trial of other officers.
ProPublica, the Times-Picayune and PBS Frontline have been
investigating the circumstances around the shooting of 10 unarmed
civilians by NOPD in the days after Hurricane Katrina. In addition to
the Danziger Bridge case, the killings of Henry Glover, Danny Brumfield, and Matthew McDonald, and the shooting of Keenon McCann remain open federal investigations.
In August, in response to reports by ProPublica, the Times-Picayune and PBS Frontline,
federal investigators also launched an inquiry into allegations that
high-ranking officers in the NOPD gave orders authorizing police to
shoot looters in the chaotic days after the hurricane .
In all, there are at least nine open federal investigations into
misconduct by the NOPD, most dealing with incidents that took place
after Katrina. So far, 16 NOPD officers have been charged. Another two
have been charged in a case from July 2005.