Four New Orleans Police officers received long prison sentences today for the Danzinger Bridge shooting, and their supervisor who helped cover up the crime received a six-year term.
A federal jury had convicted the officers in August of fatally shooting two civilians and seriously wounding four others on Sept. 4, 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. The shooting was covered up for almost five years.
U.S. District Court Judge Kurt Englehardt sentenced Sgt. Kenneth Bowen to 40 years; Sgt. Robert Gisevius to 40 years; Officer Robert Faulcon to 65 years; and Officer Anthony Villavaso to 38 years.
Sgt. Arthur "Archie" Kaufman was a supervisor who was not involved in the shooting and helped the other officers cover up what they had done.
"We hope that today’s sentences give a measure of peace and closure to the victims of this terrible shooting, who have suffered unspeakable pain and who have waited so patiently for justice to be done," said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the DOJ's civil rights division. "The officers who shot innocent people on the bridge and then went to great lengths to cover up their own crimes have finally been held accountable for their actions."
Bowen, Gisevius, Faulcon and Villavaso were convicted in connection with the shootings of multiple victims, including 17-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison, who died on the bridge. The officers were also convicted of obstructing justice during subsequent investigations.
Five other officers pleaded guilty before trial and cooperated with the federal investigation. Those officers testified at trial about the unjustified shooting on the bridge and about the police cover-up that followed.
The five former NOPD officers who pleaded guilty before trial have already received their sentences. They include Mike Hunter (8 years), Ignatius Hills (6 1/2 years), Robert Barrios (5 years), Michael Lohman (4 years); and Jeffrey Lehrmann (3 years).