Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Multiple Murder by Cop on the Danziger Bridge During Katrina.

Lance Madison is arrested Sept. 4, 2005, by New Orleans police officers at the Danziger Bridge. Accused of shooting at police officers, he was cleared of wrongdoing by a state grand jury.

Here's the link for the story below. Go there and watch the video and especially check out this document.

Police supervisor encouraged cover-up, knew officer planted gun while still on Danziger Bridge

By Laura Maggi, The Times-Picayune
February 24, 2010, 2:16PM

Lt. Michael Lohman, a supervisor who led the detective unit that first investigated the shooting of six people on the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina, has been charged with one count of conspiring to obstruct justice in a bill of information that was unsealed today.

He is expected to plead guilty in a court hearing early this afternoon, after which U.S. Attorney Jim Letten has scheduled a press conference.

While on the Danziger bridge on Sept. 4, Lohman concluded that the shootings were not legally justified. He then assigned Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, who is described but not named in the bill of information, to investigate the case.

The investigating officer, who is Kaufman, told Lohman that he planned to place a gun under the bridge, and Lohman "asked whether the investigator knew that the gun was 'clean,' meaning it could not be traced back to another crime." The investigator said it was, and "Lohman went along with the plan," the bill of information says.

In addition, Lohman signed off on a report that said the investigator found the gun under the bridge on Sept. 5, the bill of information says. In fact, the document says, Lohman was so "frustrated" with the implausibility of the initial report that he "personally drafted" a 17-page replacement that included "numerous false facts."

Six people were shot on the eastern New Orleans bridge on the morning of Sept. 4, 2005. Two men died, including one who was mentally challenged, while four others suffered serious wounds.

From just after the shooting, New Orleans police officials portrayed the incident as a gun battle between armed citizens and police officers. But the surviving victims told a very different story, saying they were not armed and were attacked by the officers, some who were carrying not only their .40 caliber handguns but personal weapons, including a shot gun and two AK-47s.

The fact that prosecutors have charged Lohman by bill of information -- which outlines the allegations against him in 11 pages -- is a strong indicator that he has signed a plea agreement and is cooperating with the federal government. Prosecutors can charge a defendant with a bill of information only when a defendant waives his right to a grand jury indictment.

The document was entered into the court record, under seal, on Feb. 3.

The document states that Lohman also suggested to two sergeants and the investigating officer "that they go back to the bridge to get rid of some of the shell casings" left behind by the officers.

The bill of information does not identify the sergeants or the investigator, but attorneys for two officers -- Sgt. Robert Gisevius and Kaufman -- have acknowledged their clients have received target letters in the federal probe. Gisevius fired his weapon several times at the scene and Kaufman performed the initial investigation.

The document goes on to say that through May 2009, Lohman conspired and agreed with other NOPD officers and supervisors to knowingly falsify a document with the intent to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation, to engage in misleading conduct, and to willfully make false statements and representations within the jurisdiction of the FBI.

Lohman, an NOPD supervisor, retired from the New Orleans Police Department on Feb. 1. His plea deal is the first indication that anyone with the NOPD is cooperating with federal investigators looking at a slew of post-Katrina police shooting incidents.

He appeared at 2 p.m. before Magistrate Judge Louis Moore, where he pleaded innocent. Lohman will then walk to U.S. Judge Ivan Lemelle's courtroom where he is expected to change his plea to guilty on the obstruction charge.

The Danziger Bridge shooting is probably the most publicly known post-Katrina police shooting, as prosecutors with the Orleans Parish district attorney's office led a grand jury investigation into the matter in 2006. Those grand jury proceedings resulted in indictments in Dec. 2006, charging the seven officers involved in the shooting with various murder and attempted murder charges. The federal probe has expanded beyond the shootings themselves, looking at the NOPD's investigation of their officers' actions.

Federal investigators are also looking into other officer-involved shootings committed in the week after Katrina devastated the city.

The seven police officers who arrived at the bridge -- transported by a Budget rental truck -- were responding to a radio call that two officers were in danger. An attorney for Gisevius, one of the officers who responded, noted that this kind of distress signal is a "high-risk" call to respond to.

"It raises your adrenaline, it automatically puts you in fear for your life," said Eric Hessler, Gisevius' attorney in an interview last week. "And when you are responding to that call in the midst of Katrina, when all kinds of misinformation is being given out, you are certainly going to be in a heightened state."

Lohman was the supervisor of Kaufman, a detective in the 7th District who conducted the initial probe. Kaufman, through an attorney, has acknowledged receiving a letter stating that he is a target of the investigation. He maintains his innocence.

Lohman signed off on the initial incident report written by Kaufman. Kaufman later teamed up with Sgt. Gerard Dugue, a "major case" detective who traditionally handled officer-involved shooting incidents, to write the supplemental investigation, which deemed the shooting justified.

That police report, obtained by The Times-Picayune, has been criticized by attorneys for the victims for relying almost entirely on the testimony of the involved officers. The report states that Lohman arrived at the scene at some point, but does not describe his involvement.

20 comments:

Taylor Harbin said...

Well, may be late, but at least SOME sibilance of justice is being served.

MamaLiberty said...

Well shut my mouth...

Will wonders never cease? A Federal investigation? Do you think they might discover that these fine cop folks did NOT "follow department policy and procedure?" Why, they may even get their hands slapped.

If found truly guilty, they should lose their jobs, pensions and probably be put behind bars for a long time. And it should have happened in 2005!

I won't hold my breath. :(

Brock Townsend said...

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Anonymous said...

I guess those Clowns picked their side. I don't usually root for the Feebs, but these parasites need to be taken off the streets.

Anonymous said...

Oreilly will run to defend them, confiscating guns and "protecting and serving" in a crisis, yes sir, doing their duty.

jon said...

we're the only ones policing up our brass enough.

Brian K Miller said...

Let me see if I understand this...

In the first week after Katrina the NOPD shoots down unarmed civilians in cold blood in "numerous" instances, then it uses these "deadly encounters with armed criminal gangs" to justify a city-wide illegal confiscation of civilian firearms?

Have I got that right?

And then people call me paranoid for not trusting modern law enforcement!

Anonymous said...

Fry these bastards!!!!

I love the old standby phrase of "puts you in fear for your life". Do you think that the citizens dodging your bullets may have been in fear for their lives??? Did you think that you were in a shooting gallery with live targets?? Maybe the citizens were "resisting arrest or obstructing justice" and they had to be stopped at all costs????


These actions done to the public by corrupt criminal LEO's win NO friends or influence NO people!!! We DO NOT care to hear your excuses or lame beliefs. The American public is sick and tired of this nonsense. Here's a novel thought, Police yourselves BEFORE you Police us!!!!!

Doug
Newark, Ohio

Anonymous said...

Do I trust the totally corrupt New Orleans police department? No. Do I trust the Obama White House, agenda-driven FBI? No. Do I trust the witnesses of this horrific shooting event who will want probably want racially unified "payback" on what may have been cold blooded murder of their friends and families during a chaotic, nightmarish, riot event? Nope. This will be a mess, all the way around.

Anonymous said...

So were the cops under orders to create an incident to use as a pretext for confiscation, or were they just a bunch of psychopaths out to get some kills while they could get away with it? It think probably both. Police see We the People as the enemy anyway, and many are just sociopaths who get to live out many of their fantasies with legal authority. Not for much longer I bet...

Dan said...

We the people of Louisiana were just caught by surprise. Not by the storm mind you but by the tyrannical actions of local, state, and federal "law" enforcement. We were in a state of shocked disbelief that has taken months and years to fully absorb. All we have to say now is next time they better bring tanks and body bags it will not happen again.

Janet Incompetano said...

Well, two wrongs don't make a right, so we should just ask everyone to turn the other cheek, and remember that these officers were really victims of society's pressures... plus they probably watched violent cartoons growing up and thus were warped without even understanding what was happening to them.
We should just all give our nasty guns to the nice officers who know what is best for us.

Anonymous said...

My dad was a small town cop who retired as the town marshal of a three man police department. Not much of a career, right? Except for the fact that I had quite a collection of knives including a Mexican toad sticker and one of those little Japanese darlings the girls hide in their hair, that he had collected from wannabe derring-doers by himself, all the while with his service revolver in its holster. Back then it was legal to keep souvenirs of that type, so no, he wasn't a thief.

If it had been legal to keep confiscated firearms I would have had another collection that would have included a shotgun he took after he walked up to a mental patient who was going buggy in the street, again with his service revolver in its holster - yes, the shotgun was loaded, yes, the perp had fired it, and no, my father was not stupid.

He was proudest of the Boys Club he ran for years, and I think the incident that gave him the most pleasure was finding a little girl who had gotten lost one night. He considered his job as being keeping the peace, as in keeping things peaceful so that ordinary citizens could live their lives in peace and not fear. It was a matter of trust and he always viewed his 'police' powers as being discretionary, meaning that if you screwed up he would let it pass if he figured you really didn't mean to cause trouble. But heaven help you if he caught you speeding in a school zone, and he always patrolled school zones when the kids were going and coming. The skeletons in the closets he knew about he didn't use to cement his power and position, he would simply say something like: 'Fred, you remember what happened last time you got drunk, so let me take you home and I'll even speak to the wife so she'll unlock the door.' He had no use for self-important city officials and would write them up for drunk driving or speeding just like anyone else. He quit two job because of the pressure put on him for that attitude, which resulted in him going to work in the woods at almost fifty to keep food on the table, before he was recruited as the town marshal by some folk who had a serious need for an honest police department.

The best story I've ever heard about him was back when he was a patrolman, this was from someone I met years after he died. She said she had been an alcoholic for years, and one night she got into a rip snort'n fight with her spouse who she caught making up to another gal in the local tavern across the street from the police station. The bartender yelled at her that he'd called the cops and she ran out into the alley and jumped into her car and threw it into reverse and stomped on the gas just as two cops stepped into the alley mouth. She blew threw them and lit out for home. Before she got out of town a prowl car came up on her ass with lights flashing and siren howling but she was so scared she kept going for a mile or more until she sobered up and finally stopped. The cop came up to her window and when she could stop crying and shaking, asked her what was wrong. She told her story and he finally asked her that if he let her go would she promise to go straight home and stay there. She promised and he told her to go. She looked at me when she finished that story and said: 'That cop was your dad.'

That cop was a 'peace officer', and they are a rare breed but can still be found if you look hard enough. If you have the good fortune to ever find one, then you might just take some time and give them your support, because beyond a doubt the establishment does what it can to discourage them at every turn, just like it does to anyone who won't be bought, bribed, or intimidated.

bacsi

straightarrow said...

Ok, I heard about indictments of the cops for murder and attempted murder, but I haven't heard of any of them going to death row. Have I just not heard, or is this whole thing to be an obstruction of justice trial with two hours of community service and then let's just all get along and forget about the dead people?

Sabre said...

After reading this article I just can't help but wonder what the outcome would have been if these"law enforcement"officers would have encountered ARMED citizens.

Anonymous said...

Lohman, Kaufman, you do the math

patrick henry said...

As I posted on Mike's "open letter" thread, the JPFO page also included this video: http://tinyurl.com/mtd8fm

It should be required viewing for EVERYONE - especially any who think they live in a "free country."

DD

Jimmy the Saint said...

NOPD = Not Our Problem, Dude.

The NOPD has been a train wreck for quite a while. They have some very good (and amazingly patient) officers, but they've had a lot of thugs with a badge. Heck, they had to be run by the DOJ after they got caught protecting drug shipmnents and pulling hits for dealers.

Cybrludite said...

Straightarrow,

At present, the NOPD has two cops on death row. Antoinette Frank for killing her partner while she was robbing a Vietnamese restaurant, and Len Davis for ordering a hit on a citizen who calling in a brutality complaint against him. Said hit order being overheard by the Feds via wiretap while they were investigating him & others for drug dealing.

straightarrow said...

I appreciate it Cludite, but how about the bridge murderers? what has happened to them?