Five Former New Orleans Cops Handed Prison Sentences in Fatal Post-Hurricane Katrina Bridge Shooting
The Sept. 4, 2005, shooting on the Danziger Bridge claimed the lives of 17-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison, who were both unarmed
The five former police officers who were involved in a shooting that played out on a New Orleans bridge days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – leaving two dead and four others wounded – received prison sentences this week after pleading guilty to a reduced number of charges as part of a deal struck with prosecutors, PEOPLE confirms.
According to newly-unsealed court documents obtained by PEOPLE, former officers Robert Faulcon, Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Anthony Villavaso and Arthur Kaufman pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of deprivation of rights under color of law, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to court filings.
Faulcon, Bowen, Gisevius, and Villavaso have been imprisoned since their initials arrests in 2007.
The Sept. 4, 2005, shooting on the Danziger Bridge claimed the lives of 17-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison, who were both unarmed.
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Four other people were wounded in the incident, which the five officers allegedly attempted to cover up, planting a gun near the bridge and fabricating their accounts of the events that precipitated the gunfire.
The officers claims they were fired upon soon after arriving at the bridge, where they were investigating complaints called in by citizens.
But after witnesses came forward to dispute their claims, federal charges were filed against the five men, who were convicted in 2011 after a month-long trial.
In 2013, following allegations of possible prosecutorial misconduct, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt vacated the five convictions, and ordered new trials for the officers.
While their initial convictions merited sentences of between six and 65 years, this week’s plea deal will see the five men instead serve between three and 12 years in prison.
All will get credit for time served, officials confirm.