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Danziger Bridge shootings jury selection

Danziger Bridge shootings jury selection
A mountain of trash, which residents of New Orleans refer to as "the pile," November 14, 2005, as people return to the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to gut and repair their homes. (UPI Photo/A.J. Sisco) | License Photo

NEW ORLEANS, June 23 (UPI) -- Jury selection neared completion Thursday in the trial of New Orleans police officers charged in the killing of two unarmed black men and a subsequent coverup.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt told jurors the five defendants -- all current or former New Orleans police officers -- were charged in a 25-count federal indictment with various violations of civil rights in the Sept. 4, 2005, Danziger Bridge shootings in which four other people were wounded.

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The shootings occurred six days after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast with devastating force, triggering looting, violence and other criminal activity in New Orleans.

Potential jurors were asked about their backgrounds and beliefs, their personal experiences during Katrina and their views about police officers.

When Engelhardt asked Wednesday on the first day of jury selection how many people had heard of or read about the Danziger Bridge case, all veniremen raised their hands, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.

No one in the jury pool said he or she harbored animosity toward law enforcement, the newspaper said.

A jury of 12 plus four alternates was to be empaneled for what is expected to be an eight-week trial, The Times-Picayune said.

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