Ex-cop convicted in Henry Glover case seeks retrial outside of N.O.
21st October 2013 · 0 Comments
A former New Orleans police officer charged with shooting an unarmed Black man on the West Bank just days after Hurricane Katrina has again asked a federal judge to consider moving his retrial away from New Orleans, The Associated Press reported.
In a court filing Tuesday, David Warren’s attorneys argued that extensive media exposure of their client’s case and another deadly shooting that took place two days later on an eastern New Orleans Bridge will make it impossible for his case to be heard by a fair and impartial jury in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Warren, was convicted in December 2010 in the murder of Henry Glover, who was gunned down as he approached Warren who was standing on the roof of a West Bank strip mall. After he was shot, Glover, 31, was aided by a friend who took him to a makeshift police station in Algiers. During the trial, that friend testified that he and others were beaten by New Orleans police and that was the last time he saw Glover alive. Glover’s remains were later discovered in the friend’s burned-out and abandoned car on the Mississippi River levee. Glover skull was later removed from the grisly crime scene and has never been found or returned.
In April, U.S. District Judge Lance Africk rejected a previous request by Warren to transfer the case to another district.
Warren’s lawyers filed another request last week, pointing to what they called a “flurry of media reports and editorials” about a recent decision by a different judge to order a new trial for five former NOPD officers convicted of charges stemming from the deadly Danziger Bridge shootings on Sept. 4, 2005 that left two unarmed civilians dead and four others wounded. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt cited evidence of “grotesque” prosecutorial misconduct when he threw out the former officers’ convictions on civil rights charges after it was learned that several of then U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s top prosecutors had improperly posted comments online about several active Department of Justice cases.
The two prosecutors left the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Letten ultimately stepped down as the longest-serving U.S. attorney in the nation’s history. A third federal prosecutor, Karla Dobinski, was later found to have also improperly posted comments online about active DOJ cases.
In Tuesday’s court filing, Warren’s attorneys argued that media coverage of Judge Engelhardt’s ruling “has only helped conflate the two trials in the minds of potential jurors and pollute the jury pool even more.” Some of the potential jurors who recently filled out a questionnaire from the court mistakenly believed that Warren was one of the officers involved in the Danziger Bridge shootings, the defense lawyers noted.
Warren was convicted of manslaughter for shooting an unarmed Henry Glover on Sept. 2, 2005. A different officer was convicted of burning Glover’s body in a car.
David Warren’s 2010 conviction was overturned this past December by a three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed that Warren should have been tried separately from officers accused of engaging in a cover-up.
His retrial is slated to begin on Dec. 2.
Warren’s attorneys urged Africk to sequester jurors as a possible alternative to moving the retrial to a different district.
W.C. Johnson, a member of Community United for Change and host of local cable-access show “OurStory,” told The Louisiana Weekly Friday that his thoughts are with the Glover family and all of the families impacted by the NOPD’s use of excessive force and unconstitutional policing. He said Blacks in New Orleans need to be very clear about what they are up against and what the ongoing ordeal of the Glover and Danziger cases means for all Black people who live in New Orleans.
‘David Warren as well as the Danziger 7 defendants are all police officers,” Johnson said. “What most Blacks do not realize is that police officers are part of the court. They are all called officers of the court. The display being played out through the court system is the ideal environment the U.S. Constitution talks about concerning being tried by your peers. Truly the police officers are being tried by their peers, who happen to believe whatever the police need to do in the course of their job is fine. Historically, police have always been recruited from the underclass — mostly criminals themselves. So I am not surprised at the behaviors of the court when it comes to protecting, upholding and turning a blind eye to the corruption of police officers. That being said. I also find it a crime and a disservice to the Black community as well as the families that must be put through this awful chain of events once again.
“… It seems as if the courts are trying to make a mockery of Black folks dying at the hands of the police. The entire stage of both the Glover and Danziger trials seems to be replays of Supreme Court cases that denied Black folks basic constitutional rights. If there was any time that Black folks should be considering separating from the white community, it is now with these most recent decisions of the Glover and Danziger cases.”
“We can’t keep allowing these politicians, lawyers and judges to play games with our lives and our future,” the Rev. Raymond Brown, a community activist and president of National Action Now, told The Louisiana Weekly Friday. “We need to stand up, speak up and let our voices be heard, whether that means picketing in front of the federal courthouse, writing, emailing and calling the United States Department of Justice. Enough is enough.”
“I urge the Black community to rally around all families directly involved in the Glover and Danziger cases,” W.C. Johnson said. “Black people need to take up the cause that Blacks embraced at the turn of the 19th century. The more the court and the white community hears from the Black community, the less likely these murders will go free. As long as the court and the white community believes that Blacks will get over the freeing of these murderers, the more likely these murderers will get off. Black folks cannot forget that the white community never takes lightly any commissions of wrongdoing against white people or the white community. Blacks need to learn the same loyalty.”
Ramessu Merriamen Aha, a New Orleans businessman and former congressional candidate, agreed.
“Sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing is not an option,” he told The Louisiana Weekly. “We need to ask the people we sent to Congress, the State Legislature and the New Orleans City Council why they are so quiet and nonchalant while members of the New Orleans Police are gunning down unarmed Black civilians like we are going out of style. We need to flood their phone lines, bombard their offices with letters and emails and show up wherever they are going to be to let them know how dissatisfied we are with their lack of commitment to speaking out against injustice and unconstitutional policing.
“The Bartholomews (who were shot on the Danziger Bridge) and the families of Henry Glover, James Brissette and Ronald Madison have been through enough. To make these families who are still reeling from the murders of their loved ones and the first trials endure another trial is criminal. To grant any of these cops’ request to have their retrials moved outside of New Orleans is unspeakable.”
*Additional reporting by Louisiana Weekly editor Edmund W. Lewis.
This article originally published in the October 21, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.