Danziger Bridge trial wrapping up

Aug. 3, 2011 at 8:43 AM
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NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Attorneys for New Orleans police officers charged in the 2005 Danziger Bridge shootings want jurors to consider the stress their clients were under.

Lawyers for the five current or former police officers said their clients were suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when six people were shot, two of them fatally, on the bridge, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.

During nearly seven hours of closing arguments Tuesday, defense attorneys offered various explanations of why officers fired their weapons.

What matters, they said, is that the officers truly believed they were in a gun battle.

Lead prosecutor Barbara "Bobbi" Bernstein disagreed.

"They delivered their own sort of post-apocalyptic justice by taking care of these people they thought were bad guys," Bernstein said.

The shootings occurred less than a week after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August 2005.

Prosecutors charged in addition to shooting unarmed people the officers embarked on a cover-up that included fabricated witnesses, falsified reports and a planted gun.

Jurors were set to begin deliberations Wednesday following instructions from the judge.

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