NEW ORLEANS — Five current or former New Orleans police officers were charged Friday in the shooting death and burning of a New Orleans man during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
According to earlier published reports, police were using a school as a temporary headquarters on Sept. 2, 2005, when a group of men drove up looking for help for 31-year-old Henry Glover, who had been shot.
One of the men reportedly later told investigators that Glover was still in the back seat when a police officer drove off with his car. Glover's burned remains later were recovered from the charred car when it turned up on a levee near a police station.
Prosecutors would not provide details Friday of what they believe happened.
In indictments Friday, former officer David Warren was charged with violating Glover's rights by allegedly shooting him to death. Along with a charge of unlawful use of a firearm he faces a possible life sentence and a $250,000 fine.
Warren was immediately arrested after the indictment was handed up and is in federal custody, the Department of Justice said in a news release. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said a federal judge would be asked to order Warren jailed until trial.
Letten also said that under some circumstances, prosecutors can seek a death sentence for a civil rights violation. However, he said the case would require more review before a recommendation to seek the death penalty might be made.
Others charged were former Lt. Robert Italiano, Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann, Lt. Travis McCabe and Officer Gregory McRae.
Scheuermann and McRae are charged with obstructing justice and burning Glover's body and the car in which he was found. They also are accused of assaulting residents who tried to help Glover. If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
Italiano and McCabe are charged with obstruction of justice for their alleged roles in submitting false reports of the incident and lying to investigators. Italiano, if convicted, faces a maximum prison sentence of 25 years and a $500,000 fine. If convicted, McCabe could get 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.
Following announcement of the indictment, Letten said the five have a duty to the public, "certainly not to kill them, certainly not to destroy evidence."
At a brief initial appearance hearing, U.S. Magistrate Louis Moore ordered Warren jailed until an arraignment and detention hearing on Thursday. Warren did not enter a plea Friday. His attorney, Joseph Albe, said he could not comment.
Letten said he could not comment on who was representing the other defendants. Their attorneys had not been posted in the court record Friday.
The case is one of several civil rights investigations involving actions of the New Orleans Police Department after Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, 2005, plunging the city into flooding and civil chaos after levees broke.
A civil suit was filed Tuesday in federal court against Warren, McRae and Schueremann by Charlene Green, who says she is the mother of Glover's son, Henry Glover Jr. Although the suit claims that Glover was the victim of civil rights violations, it does not detail what allegedly happened. Green's attorney, Dwight Norton, did not return a call for comment Friday.