Officers Charged in Katrina Bridge Shootings
4 charged with violating civil rights during storm chaos
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 13, 2010 4:19 PM CDT
Sherrel Johnson, mother of James Brisette, who was killed on the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina, speaks to reporters in April.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – Four New Orleans police officers have been charged with federal civil rights violations in the deadly shootings of unarmed people on a bridge in the chaos after Hurricane Katrina. The indictment unsealed today charges Sgts. Robert Gisevius and Kenneth Bowen and officers Anthony Villavaso and Robert Faulcon with deprivation of rights under color of law and use of a weapon during the commission of a crime. They could face the death penalty if convicted.

Sgts. Arthur Kaufman and Gerard Dugue were charged with joining them in a cover-up. Charges against them include making false statements. Five former New Orleans police officers already have pleaded guilty to helping cover up the shootings on the Danziger Bridge that left two men dead and four wounded just days after the August 2005 hurricane. Their pleas appeared to be laying the foundation for more serious charges against those accused of actually doing the shooting and engineering the cover-up.