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jury convicts 5 police for deadly shootings after Hurricane Katrina
August 7, 2011, 3:48 am
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YAHOO: NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal jury on Friday convicted five current or former police officers in deadly shootings on a New Orleans bridge after Hurricane Katrina, a high-profile victory for the Justice Department in its push to clean up the city’s troubled police department.

The case was a high-stakes test of the effort to rid the police department of corruption and brutality. A total of 20 current or former New Orleans police officers were charged last year in a series of federal probes. Most of the cases center on actions during the aftermath of the Aug. 29, 2005, storm, which plunged the flooded city into a state of lawlessness and desperation.

Sgts. Robert Gisevius and Kenneth Bowen, Officer Anthony Villavaso and former officer Robert Faulcon were convicted of civil rights violations in the shootings that killed two people and wounded four others on the Danziger Bridge less than a week after the storm. They face possible life prison sentences.

Retired Sgt. Arthur “Archie” Kaufman and the other four men also were convicted of engaging in a brazen cover-up that included a planted gun, fabricated witnesses and falsified reports. The five men were convicted of all 25 counts they faced.

Shaun Clarke, a defense attorney and former federal prosecutor who moved from New Orleans to Houston after Katrina, said the verdicts are “critically important” to the Justice Department’s reform efforts.

“It’s a huge verdict for the government,” he said. “Of all the cases concerning alleged misconduct by police officers after Katrina, this was the one that had the highest national profile.”

Faulcon was found guilty of fatally shooting Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, but the jury decided his killing didn’t amount to murder. Faulcon, Gisevius, Bowen and Villavaso were convicted in the death of 17-year-old James Brissette. Jurors didn’t have to decide whether Brissette was murdered because they didn’t hold any of the defendants individually responsible for causing his death.

Kaufman, who was assigned to investigate the deadly encounter on the bridge, wasn’t charged in the shootings.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who invited the Justice Department last year to conduct a thorough review of the police department, said the verdicts “provide significant closure to a dark chapter in our city’s history.”

In March, the Justice Department issued a blistering report that said New Orleans police officers have often used deadly force without justification, repeatedly made unconstitutional arrests and engaged in racial profiling. Landrieu has said he expects the federal review to bring about court-ordered reforms.

Five former officers pleaded guilty to participating in cover-up of the bridge shootings and testified during the trial. Another former officer, retired Sgt. Gerard Dugue, has a separate trial scheduled to start in September.

Brissette’s mother, Sherrel Johnson, said she was relieved by the verdict after “a long, hard six years” and would now try to move on. But she lamented what her son has lost.

“For him there will be no prom, no baby, no nothing. My child will never have nothing,” she said.

Defense attorney Roger Kitchens, who represented Villavaso, said he believed negative media coverage of the case tainted jurors.

“At this point, I don’t think it’s possible for a New Orleans police officer to get a fair trial in the city of New Orleans. And I don’t think they got one today,” he said.

Prosecutors said police had no justification for shooting unarmed, defenseless people trying to cross the bridge in search of food and help days after Katrina struck.

Defense attorneys argued, however, that police were shot at on the bridge before they returned fire.

Faulcon, the only defendant to testify, said he was “paralyzed with fear” when he shot and killed Madison, as he chased him and his brother, Lance Madison. Faulcon didn’t dispute that he shot an unarmed man in the back, but he testified that he had believed Ronald Madison was armed and posed a threat.

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Dear Sirs/Madams:

The letter below is being sent to you in behalf of Dr. Firpo Carr. Dr. Carr has been very instrumental in drawing attention to the unfair indictment of my brother, Sgt. Gerard Dugué. I invite you to please examine Dr. Carr’s articles. Thank you very much.

Sincerely yours,

Virgil Dugué

Dear Sirs/Madams:

The Henry Glover case and the Danzinger Bridge incident have serious implications in relations between the Black community and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). Both cases have captured the interest of the national press, not the least of which is the Los Angeles Sentinel-L.A. Watts Times newspaper.

Not only is this paper the preeminent one for L.A.’s African American community, but Danny J. Bakewell, Sr.—the paper’s Executive Publisher, Chief Executive Officer, President, and Executive Editor—is also the chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

We are attempting to draw both national and international attention to the egregious post-Katrina events perpetrated against African Americans by rouge NOPD cops. This is not an indictment on all NOPD officers.
There are fine police officers who did their best, both during and after Hurricane Katrina’s wrath. According to all available evidence, one of these is retired Sergeant Gerard Dugué. Unfortunately, Mr. Dugué was unfairly indicted, and it is our belief that, in the interest of justice, attention should be drawn to this fact.
Our feeling is, Why add insult to injury by trying and possibly convicting an innocent man? There have already been too many tragedies associated with Hurricane Katrina, some of them preventable. We are hoping you will join us in trying to halt the makings of an obvious travesty.

Please click “Dugué Defense” link at the website. Articles on Dugué’s innocence have already appeared online—in 34 languages. There is a keen worldwide interest in his case.

You will note one of the articles quotes from Gerard’s brother-in law, C. Arnold Lain, a Black lawyer in Winnsboro, Louisiana. (

Please feel free to contact me by phone or email. You will find my contact information below.
Cordially yours,
Firpo Carr


Dr. Firpo Carr continues to expose the Justice Department’s sham case against Sgt. Gerard Dugué. It is quite evident that they recognize the public is aware that Sgt. Dugué is innocent regarding the bogus charges against him in the Danziger Bridge murders. In the “Dugué Defense Part 5,” you will see and feel the government’s desperation as they shamelessly pervert the truth regarding Dugué’s investigation of the 2001 Gert Town shooting. In doing so they continue to waste taxpayers’ money in their witch-hunt.

Dr. Firpo Carr continues to expose the government’s inexcusable and reckless action in unjustly indicting Sgt. Gerard Dugué in connection with the Danziger Bridge murders. In the “Dugué Defense Part 4,” Dr. Carr exposes the FBI’s deceptive reporting on their interviewing of Sgt. Dugué and the Justice Department’s employing the “Straw Man Fallacy” in their continuing efforts to put on trial an innocent man, Sgt. Gerard Dugué. We invite you to click on the following link:


Other articles and radio broadcasts you may have missed:

Below is a link to the 1/23/2011 Sunday Journal WYLD discussion in which Dr. Firpo Carr was interviewed by Mr. Hal Clark regarding Sgt. Gerard Dugué’s innocence in connection with the Danziger Bridge murders:

(Please note that Sgt. Gerard Dugué was not in Gonzales, Texas, during the Danziger Bridge shooting. This was a misunderstanding. Gerard was actually in Gonzales, Louisiana, during the shooting. Nevertheless, the point is that he was not in New Orleans during the shooting.)


Link to Mr. Hal Clark’s 1/9/11 Sunday Journal WYLD interview of Dr. Firpo Carr: Journal – 1 09 11 – Dr. Firpo Carr (2).mp3?CPROG=PCAST?CCOMRRMID&CPROG=RICHMEDIA&MARKET=NEWORLEANS-LA&NG_FORMAT=&NG_ID=&OR_NEWSFORMAT=&OWNER=&


Links to “The Dugué Defense” articles:


Other links:

Comment by Dr. Firpo Carr

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