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article imageCops convicted of shooting in Katrina aftermath get new trial

By Justin King     Sep 18, 2013 in World
New Orleans - A judge tossed the 2011 convictions of five former police officers because of “gross prosecutorial misconduct” after it was revealed that federal prosecutors had posted anonymous comments on a New Orleans newspaper’s website.
The Federal Judge said that prosecutors had created a prejudicial and poisonous atmosphere in his 129 page decision. The convictions that were vacated were held as a major victory in the fight to hold officers accountable for crimes committed in the days surrounding Hurricane Katrina. At the time, Attorney General Eric Holder said
“I am hopeful today’s verdict brings justice for the victims and their family members, helps to heal the community and contributes to the restoration of public trust in the New Orleans Police Department.”
The comments posted by employees of Holder’s Justice Department tainted the prosecutions efforts. One of those prosecutors, Karla Dobinski, was a lawyer for the Civil Rights Division; the very division that is supposed to protect the rights of the accused against official misconduct. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt granted a new trial based on the gross prosecutorial misconduct.
The officers are accused of civil rights violations in relation to two deaths that occurred on Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005. Witnesses during the original trial testified that the Bartholomew family was unarmed when the officers opened fire on them. The officers were then alleged to have began an immediate cover up by planting evidence and fabricating witnesses. All of this occurred in the frantic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
More about New orleans, Katrina, Prosecutor, danziger
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