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5 former New Orleans Police officers sentenced in Hurricane Katrina shootings

By
Shawn Price
Five former New Orleans police officers pleaded guilty and were re-sentenced Wednesday as part of a plea deal in the shooting deaths of six unarmed men and a subsequent cover-up of the crimes in the days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The men had all been previously convicted by a federal jury, but the convictions were over turned for prosecutorial misconduct. Photo by sebra/Shutterstock
Five former New Orleans police officers pleaded guilty and were re-sentenced Wednesday as part of a plea deal in the shooting deaths of six unarmed men and a subsequent cover-up of the crimes in the days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The men had all been previously convicted by a federal jury, but the convictions were over turned for prosecutorial misconduct. Photo by sebra/Shutterstock

NEW ORLEANS, April 20 (UPI) -- Five former New Orleans police officers were sentenced Wednesday for the shootings of six unarmed men and its subsequent cover-up in the days following Hurricane Katrina.

Four of the former officers were sentenced to between seven and 12 years for the actual shootings of the men on Danziger Bridge, and the fifth was sentenced to three years for helping to cover-up the Sept. 2005, incident.

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U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt sentenced the five men after they pleaded guilty in a plea agreement endorsed by the victims' families. The men were convicted of the killings and cover up five years ago by a federal jury, but the those convictions were overturned in 2013 for prosecutorial misconduct.

The four officers convicted of the shootings had previously received sentences between 38 and 65 years and their supervisor a sentence of seven years.

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Former officers Kenneth Bowen, Robert Faulcon, Robert Gisevius and Anthony Villavaso all pleaded guilty to three counts of deprivation of rights under color of law, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice by engaging in misleading conduct.

Their former boss Arthur Kaufman, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and falsification of evidence to obstruct justice.

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A sixth officer, Gerard Dugue, was tried a year before the others and his conviction was also overturned, but he was not part of the plea deal and a new trial for him has not been scheduled.

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"Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I finally got what I wanted. Someone confessed," said Sherrell Johnson, mother of James Brissette, who was 17-years-old when he was killed in on the bridge.

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