NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For years after Hurricane Katrina, relatives demanded justice for Henry Glover, who was gunned down outside a strip mall in the storm’s aftermath. His charred remains turned up weeks later in a burned-out car.
At least one of Glover’s family members didn’t find solace Thursday even though a jury convicted three officers in his death, the burning of his body and in the doctoring of a report to make the shooting appear justified.
Glover’s relatives were also disappointed that two others were acquitted of charges stemming from the alleged cover-up.
“It’s still not behind us,” said Rebecca Glover, Henry Glover’s aunt. “They all should have been guilty. They were all in on it.”
Rebecca Glover also questioned the jury’s decision to find David Warren, the former officer accused of shooting an unarmed Glover in the back, guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.
“It should have been murder, not manslaughter,” she said. “Because that means he will come home someday and my nephew is never coming home.”
Officer Gregory McRae was convicted of burning Glover’s body in an effort to cover-up the shooting. The federal jury also convicted Lt. Travis McCabe of writing a false report on the shooting, but two others were acquitted of charges stemming from the alleged cover-up.
“It says an enormous amount about the family of Henry Glover, who stayed the course, who did not let Mr. Glover’s disappearance go unnoticed, who persisted in seeking to find Mr. Glover and to find justice and precisely what happened to him,” U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said.
A federal judge on Friday ruled that McRae and McCabe can remain free on bond until they are sentenced March 24. Warren, who has been in custody since he was indicted earlier this year, will also be sentenced that day. He faces life in prison.
Warren’s attorney, Julian Murray, said he plans to appeal.
“I don’t think people understand the split-second decisions police officers sometime have to make,” he said.
A total of 20 current or former New Orleans police officers have been charged this year in a series of Justice Department civil rights investigations. The probe of Glover’s death was the first of those cases to be tried.
“Tonight’s verdict is a critical phase in the recovery and healing of this city, of the people of this region,” Letten said.
The jury had to weigh the defendants’ testimony against the words of several officers who admitted they initially lied to the FBI or a grand jury — or both — before cooperating with the government.
Warren, 47, said he was guarding a police substation at the mall and armed with his own assault rifle when Glover and a friend, Bernard Calloway, pulled up in what appeared to be a stolen truck. Warren claimed Glover and Calloway ran toward a gate that would have given them access to the building and ignored his commands to stop. He said he thought he saw a gun in Glover’s hand before he fired one shot at him from a second-floor balcony.
But Warren’s partner that day, Officer Linda Howard, testified Glover and Calloway weren’t armed and didn’t pose a threat.
After Warren shot Glover, a passing motorist, William Tanner, stopped and drove the wounded man, Calloway and Glover’s brother, Edward King, to a school that members of the police department’s SWAT team were using in the storm’s aftermath.
Tanner and Calloway testified they were ordered out of the car at gunpoint, handcuffed and beaten by officers who ignored their pleas to help Glover.
McRae, 49, admitted he drove Tanner’s Chevrolet Malibu from the school to a nearby Mississippi River levee and set it on fire with Glover’s body still in the back seat.
McRae said it was his idea to burn the car and he did it because he was weary of seeing rotting corpses after the storm. Another officer testified he saw McRae laughing after he set the fire.
“We admitted he burned the car, because that’s what he did,” his attorney, Frank DeSalvo, said after the verdict. “What he denied was that he intended to violate anybody’s civil rights.”
Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann, 48, who was acquitted of burning Glover’s body, testified he was stunned when he saw McRae toss a flare into the front seat of the car and then shoot out the rear window to stoke the fire.
“Thank goodness that we had 12 jurors with the courage to vote their conscience in a climate like this,” said Scheuermann’s lawyer, Jeffrey Kearney.
Former Lt. Robert Italiano was cleared of charges he submitted a false report and lied to the FBI.
Steven Lemoine, Italiano’s attorney, said his client was a “terrific” police officer who served the city with distinction for nearly four decades.
“I think the jury saw him for who he is,” he said.
McCabe’s lawyers declined to comment.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press._