Friday, August 5, 2011

Victims in Hurricane Katrina Bridge Killings Get Justice

I mean, it's not often us black people are given justice in police brutality cases. This was a horrible crime committed by horrible people during a horrible disaster. The article from the New York Times:
A federal jury found five current and former New Orleans police officers guilty on Friday afternoon on all counts in the unjustified shooting of civilians just days after Hurricane Katrina, and of orchestrating a wide-ranging cover up over the ensuing years.
The all-guilty verdict brought a decisive close to what the mother of one victim called a “six-year battle” that has dogged this city since Sept. 4, 2005, when the streets were still flooded.
Four of the defendants – Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, Sgt. Robert Gisevius, Officer Anthony Villavaso and former Officer Robert Faulcon – were convicted of federal civil rights violations for coming onto the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans on that day and opening fire on two families. James Brisette, 17, and Ronald Madison, 40, were killed and four others gravely wounded.
Prosecutors charged the officers with immediately beginning a cover-up, and the jury agreed, finding those four defendants as well as retired Sgt. Arthur Kaufman guilty on charges of obstructing justice, fabricating witnesses, lying to federal investigators and planting a firearm at the scene to bolster the story.
The defendants face potential life sentences.
From Amadou Diallo, to Sean Bell, to Oscar Grant- previously, you could pop a black man and get away with it, so long as you were wearing a blue suit. When police officers are acquitted in police brutality cases, it sends the message that they are immune from the same laws they are responsible for enforcing. Given that most of the more publicized incidents involve black men, the failures for the judicial system to adequately prosecute these officers has further weakened trust between the cops and black communities. I hope that this ruling will lead us in a new direction.

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