Five New Orleans police officers returned to a federal courtroom yesterday to enter a second round of not-guilty pleas for charges they face in the post-Hurricane Katrina killing and cover-up of Henry Glover. The cops were there to answer to a new indictment issued by a federal grand jury on August 6 that added one crucial phrase to the charges.
The new charge says that former NOPD officer David Warren violated Glover’s civil rights when he shot him from a second-floor balcony in the days after Katrina with “an attempt to kill” and cause “bodily injury.” The charges raise the bar for convicting the cop. Laura Maggi reports for the Times-Picayune that the updated charge means that if a jury finds that Warren did intend to kill Glover by shooting him, Warren could spend the rest of his life in prison. Under the original charges, Warren could have gotten a lifetime prison sentence if a jury found that Warren caused Glover’s death by shooting him.
Even though the charges Warren faces make him eligible for the death penalty, the Department of Justice has said it will not seek the death penalty against Warren.
As for the four other NOPD officers, they face charges for their involvement in an alleged extensive multi-year cover-up of the shooting. But let’s revisit 2005 first: on September 2, four days after Katrina, Glover, an Algiers resident, was shot from a second-floor balcony where the 4th District’s detective bureau was stationed. According to the feds’ indictment, Glover fled, and was found by a good Samaritan named William Tanner who picked up Glover in his Chevy Malibu and took him to a nearby school that had been commandeered by SWAT officers, thinking that the police might be able to help Glover. Tanner has insisted that Glover was alive when he brought him to police.
But instead of receiving help, the federal charges read, police beat up Tanner, stole his car and drove away with Glover still bleeding in the back seat. Three months later, Tanner found his car behind a New Orleans police department station, charred and rotting inside a mud-caked levee. A man’s remains were found inside the car; they were eventually identified as those belonging to the 31-year-old Glover. The four other police officers have been accused of engaging in an extensive cover-up: driving the car away, burning Glover’s body, writing a false police report and lying to federal agents who were sent to investigate the case–basically obstructing justice every step along the way.
The Glover case is just one of eight ongoing investigations the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division is involved in with the New Orleans police. So far, a total of sixteen New Orleans police officers have been charged for civil rights violations and misconduct for Henry Glover’s death and the Danziger Bridge incident.