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Re-sentencing delay for NOPD officer in Henry Glover case

4th August 2014   ·   0 Comments

The re-sentencing date has been postponed for the New Orleans police officer convicted of burning Henry Glover’s body after he was fatally shot by another officer.

Gregory McRae’s hearing had been set for Tuesday but U.S. District Judge Lance Africk delayed it until August 15. Times-Picayune said the reason for the delay was not immediately known.

McRae is currently in prison serving a 17-year sentence. He was one of five officers charged in the case, which involved the death of Glover four days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall and the disposal of the body.

Tuesday’s hearing had been scheduled after an appeals court vacated one of McRae’s four convictions and granted his bid to be re-sentenced on the remaining three.

Henry Glover, 31, was shot by former NOPD Officer David Warren while standing in the parking lot of a Westbank strip mall. A good Samaritan, William Tanner, testified during the 2010 trial that he assisted Glover by giving him a ride to an elementary school in Algiers being used by police to receive treatment for the gunshot wound.

Tanner said he and several others were beaten and handcuffed by the cops at the elementary school and separated from Glover. That was the last time Tanner saw Henry Glover alive.

Glover’s remains were burned in Tanner’s car and discarded on a Mississippi River levee. Although a photo showed Glover’s skull in the charred car, the skull was later removed by someone and has not been returned to the Glover family for proper burial.

Lt. Joseph Meisch testified during the 2010 trial that he saw McRae laughing after burning Henry Glover’s remains.

Former NOPD Officer David Warren was sentenced in 2010 to 25 years for shooting Glover but that sentence was later overturned after an appeals court agreed that the officer should have been tried separately and not lumped with the other officers who became involved in the incident after Glover was taken to the West Bank school for assistance after he had been shot.

Warren’s attorneys argued that their client was not aware of what happened too Glover after he was shot and took the stand during his trial to say that he shot Glover because he thought Glover was a looter reaching for a gun.

Warren was acquitted during his retrial last December.

Shortly after Warren’s acquittal, the Glover family and supporters filled Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard’s office and demanded that he re-open his investigation into the cause of Henry Glover’s death and change it from “undetermined” to homicide so that Warren could be charged with murder by Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

Minyard agreed to re-open the investigation and promised to complete his probe within two weeks but said months later that he was having difficulty wrapping up his investigation. He reached out to state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell for guidance on how to proceed with his investigation, informing Caldwell that he was unable to gain access to federal transcripts from the 2010 trial.

The Glover family also reached out to Caldwell, asking him to launch an investigation of Minyard and his handling of the Glover case.

After Caldwell declined MInyard’s request to advise him how to proceed in the case, Minyard concluded that he could not complete his investigation.

A week after he promised to re-open the case, Minyard pulled out of the coroner’s race and his 40-year tenure as the city’s coroner ended with the election of Dr. Jeffrey Rouse.

“Greg McRae’s resentencing represents the collusion between public safety and racism — between all men are created equal and the constitution of the United States,” W.C. Johnson, a member of Community United for Change and host of local cable-access show “OurStory,” told The Louisiana Weekly Thursday. “Here’s a notice to all Blacks folks: There is no justice in an unjust society. America represents de facto racism; a state where racism is not on the books but understood by all that Black folks are still treated like they are three-fifths human. As much as the politicians profess to be representative of all, Black folks still come up short on the stick of equality. This gives the authorities the green light to continue hidden racism while encouraging police terror.”

While Johnson said it is disheartening to read about the convictions of the cops in the Henry Glover and Danziger Bridge cases being overturned, the Black community cannot afford to give up the fight for justice. He said one critical move that needs to be made is an effort to identify, develop and train Black leaders who are not beholden to or appointed by the white establishment.

Asked about the toll these overturned cases and others involving unconstitutional policing are taking on New Orleans families and residents, Johnson said, “Civilized societies are supposed to exist for the betterment of the people they serve. Unfortunately, Black taxpayers get very little inclusion of the fruits of civilization. For example, Romell Madison, a professional man who has lived within the context of the law and the American Dream believing that one day we all will be free. The Danziger Bridge episode proved Dr. Madison’s heart and faith. James Brissette’s mother proved a mother’s love is never-ending. The Glover family has disproved all of the stereotypes white America wants to assign to Black folks in America. And I cannot forget to mention the hard work and tireless contributions of the people of New Orleans who rallied behind these families to ignite and engage change for New Orleans. To all of these factors, the white supremacist laws and justice system have failed New Orleans residents and made them enemies of the state simply by existing.

“The Black youth of New Orleans need to stop the self-annihilation and begin to focus on the true problems of today,” Johnson continued. “With the manpower and the energy of the Black youth, police terror can be eliminated and a new form of justice might take hold where Black folks will not have to depend on the racist white courts to bamboozle Black folks.

“It is a sin to have to watch these families suffer the way they are suffering. It should be illegal for any man, women or child to endure the pain these families are forced to continually suffer because the legal system believes it is more important to save a rogue cop than afford justice to Black folks. This is the toll, not only on the families, but also on the Black people of New Orleans.”

This article originally published in the August 4, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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