(PBS FRONTLINE) SARAH CHILDRESS, April 22, 2016 — Had prosecutors not engaged in misconduct, the officers’ sentences would have been four to five times longer.
Five New Orleans police officers pleaded guilty today to reduced charges in the shootings of six civilians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and their efforts to cover up the crimes.
The pleas come after more than a decade of legal proceedings, in which the officers were convicted for their roles in the killings of two civilians and wounding of four others, only to have the convictions overturned after a judge found the prosecutors had engaged in ethical misconduct. In August, the men were granted a new trial, but there had been little development since then.
The former officers involved in the shooting — Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon, Anthony Villavaso — pleaded guilty to the crimes, and were sentenced to serve between 7-12 years in prison, in accordance with the agreement. With credit for time served, they will likely only serve about three or four more years each.