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New Orleans ex-cop recounts coverup

July 6, 2011 at 4:49 PM   |   Comments

NEW ORLEANS, July 6 (UPI) -- A former New Orleans police officer testified Wednesday the coverup of the 2005 Danziger Bridge killings after Hurricane Katrina began immediately.

Michael Hunter, who has admitted conspiracy to obstruct justice and been sentenced to eight years in federal prison, told the trial of five ex-colleagues that minutes after the Sept. 4 shootings that killed two civilians and seriously wounded four, the officers involved were gathered at a table and asked how many times they had fired.

"It was pretty obvious they were initiating a coverup situation," Hunter testified in U.S. District Court. "They didn't separate us and ask us questions individually. Nothing was collected from the scene."

He said Lt. Michael Lohman, who also has pleaded guilty in the case, said, "We can't have this looking like a massacre."

He also said Sgt. Robert Gisevius, one of the defendants, told him later that day something like, "I don't want to go to jail."

Hunter admitted he lied about how many times he fired his Glock handgun, The Times-Picayune reported. "I didn't have the courage to tell the truth," he said.

Four current and former officers -- Gisevius, Robert Faulcon, Kenneth Bowen and Anthony Villavaso -- are accused of civil rights violations and, along with retired homicide detective Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, of conspiring to cover up the incident.

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