if they have to do something, can't do something about that place?
Murder and attempted murder charges against seven New Orleans police officers, accused of shooting unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina, were tossed out by Criminal District Court Judge Raymond Bigelow, who concluded that an Orleans Parish prosecutor tainted the secrecy of the grand jury process by showing a piece of testimony to another officer.
"The violation is clear, and indeed, uncontroverted. The state improperly disclosed grand jury testimony to another police officer," Bigelow said, reading his ruling from the bench.
He concluded former Assistant District Attorney Dustin Davis improperly gave immunity to three officers for their testimony before the grand jury, which subsequently indicted those officers, as well as four others. Bigelow also found that the instructions that Davis gave to the grand jury considering the attempted murder charges were flawed.
While the officers have all maintained their actions were justified, the police investigation into the incident conducted by the NOPD's homicide unit was incomplete and, in many ways, questionable, according to a review of the 53-page report obtained last year by The Times-Picayune.
Homicide detectives limited their extended probe into the incident to mostly police witnesses. The investigate report, which cleared the officers, based its conclusions, in part, on the statements of a man who was pretending to be a St. Landry Parish sheriff deputy, but who in fact turns out to be an impostor with a criminal record.
Physical evidence wasn't picked up by police right after the shooting. Instead, officers went back to the scene seven weeks later. At the same time, the police department allowed some evidence to be discarded, such as the rental truck used by officers after the storm, which they drove the bridge when they received a call about officers in possible distress.
I said it once before: remember the movie The Big Easy? I didn't know it was a documentary...