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Ex-cop involved in Glover case wants his job back

17th February 2014   ·   0 Comments

A former New Orleans police lieutenant wants his job back and back pay after prosecutors dropped federal charges against him in the alleged cover-up of Henry Glover’s burning and fatal shooting, The Associated Press reported last week.

Travis McCabe was accused of doctoring a police report to make it seem like former Officer David Warren was justified when he fatally shot Glover four days after Hurricane Katrina.

McCabe was convicted in December 2010, but a federal judge granted him a new trial after ruling that an early draft of the report, discovered after the trial, likely would have produced an acquittal.

McCabe was set to be retried March 10 but the charges were dropped two weeks ago.

“He wants to come back,” said attorney Eric Hessler, who represented McCabe before the Civil Service Commission. “He’s always maintained his innocence in this and said he did the right thing, and I think he’s beenvindicated.”

The New Orleans Advocate reported Tuesday that Hessler petitioned the commission last year to reinstate McCabe after U.S. District Judge Lance Africk overturned his conviction in May 2011. In April, the commission decided to withhold ruling until McCabe’s criminal case was adjudicated.

The New Orleans Police Department, which is currently involved in the process of a federally mandated consent decree aimed at implementing major reforms, fired McCabe in February 2011 for “obstruction of a federal investigation” and making false statements to the FBI and a grand jury, according to court documents. But McCabe’s termination was rooted entirely in his criminal conviction, Hessler said.

“They did no independent investigation, and they accused him of no other wrongdoing,” Hessler said. “So once that falls and is proven not to be legal cause, he has a right to his employment back.”

NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden declined comment on whether the department would oppose McCabe’s reinstatement.

Hessler said the commission likely will rule on the motion once the case gets back on the docket, adding that a hearing could be held as soon as this week. “We were always confident that the new evidence would clear him, but nevertheless, the Civil Service Commission decided to wait and see what the outcome would be.”

Eleven police officers lost their jobs as a result of the Glover investigation. The department last fall reinstated one officer, former homicide Detective Catherine Beckett, who challenged her termination in federal court.

Of the five officers originally charged in Henry Glover’s death, only one, Gregory McCrae, stands convicted, for allegedly burning Glover’s body to cover up the shooting. McCrae’s lawyers have requested a new trial. Former U.S. Attorney Harry Rosenberg told WWL-TV that the acquittal of former NOPD officer David Warren after his retrial and the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s decision to drop its case against Travis McCabe are signs of a faltering case for federal prosecutors.

“The case is not unraveling — it’s unraveled,” Rosenberg said. “At the moment, the civil rights division which normally has a pretty good record for convictions is only batting 20 percent.”

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite did not offer comment after the case against McCabe was dropped.

Members of the Glover family, however, did weigh in on the subject.

“To just let him go is a slap in the face. If this was a white man shot by a Black man, there would be no re-trials, nothing like that,” Rebecca Glover, Henry Glover’s aunt, told WWL-TV.

Danatus King, president of the New Orleans Branch of the NAACP, told WWL-TV that it has been discouraging to watch the case against the officers involved in the Henry Glover case unravel but added that the family and community are not ready to throw in the towel.

“We have not given up on justice for Henry Glover and justice for the community,” King said.

In December the Glover family asked the coroner to reopen his investigation into the death of Henry Glover and reclassify it as a homicide so that the district attorney could file homicide charges against former officer David Warren. Coroner Frank Minyard agreed to do so but has not completed his investigation and last month asked state AG Buddy Caldwell for assistance in resolving the case. The family subsequently asked AG Caldwell to investigate Minyard’s handling of the investigation.

This fall will make nine years since Henry Glover was gunned down less than a week after Hurricane Katrina. He was shot by NOPD officer David Warren in the parking lot of a Westbank strip mall. After he was shot, a good Samaritan, William Tanner, gave him a ride to a makeshift police station at an Algiers elementary school. Tanner testified that he and others were beaten by cops after arriving at the station. Tanner and other civilians were separated from Glover, who was never seen alive again. His remains were later burned in Tanner’s car and discarded on the Mississippi River levee. His skull was taken by someone from the grisly murder scene and has still not been returned for proper burial.

This article originally published in the February 17, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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