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Two Officers Indicted After Post-Katrina Shooting

Two Officers Indicted After Post-Katrina Shooting

Ray Jones, left, and Ronald Mitchell

Associated Press

October 01, 2010

NEW ORLEANS — Two New Orleans police officers were charged Thursday with lying under oath about the shooting death of a man outside the city’s convention center in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, the latest case generated by a broad Justice Department probe of the police department.

Officers Ronald Mitchell and Ray Jones were patrolling the area where thousands had sought refuge and were later stranded when resident Danny Brumfield tried to flag the police down, according to the indictment. Brumfield either jumped on the car’s hood or was struck by the vehicle, according to the indictment, and Mitchell shot Brumfield.

Mitchell claimed he shot and killed Brumfield after he lunged at him with a “shiny object” and testified that he thought Brumfield was armed with a knife.

The federal grand jury’s six-count indictment charges the officer knew Brumfield didn’t have an object, but the indictment doesn’t explain why prosecutors believe the officers lied about it.

The indictment charges the officers with obstruction of justice and perjury for allegedly giving false testimony in a lawsuit filed by Brumfield’s wife. Both officers face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

The Justice Department’s civil rights division is investigating a wide range of misconduct by New Orleans police officers, mostly in Katrina’s immediate aftermath. With Thursday’s indictment, 20 current or former officers have been charged in the probes so far.

Ap_brumfield_removal_570x400_100930_max200w

Paramedics remove the body of Danny Brumfield on Sept. 3, 2005, after he was shot by a New Orleans police officer. No other physical evidence was retrieved from the scene. {AP}

Jones’ attorney, Eric Hessler, disputed the indictment’s account of the shooting that he called vague and said his client testified truthfully about it.

“On various legal levels, it fails to fit the bill of a federal crime,” Hessler said of the allegations.

Mitchell’s lawyer didn’t immediately a call for comment. U.S. Attorney Jim Letten declined to comment on the indictment.

Richard Root, a lawyer for the Brumfield family, said he was puzzled Mitchell wasn’t charged with more serious offenses in the shooting. Eyewitnesses said Brumfield didn’t do anything to provoke the officers, according to Root.

“I still believe he was murdered,” Root said. “I’m not criticizing (prosecutors) in any way. I just can’t explain their thought process.”

Brumfield and some of his relatives were among those at the convention center after the Aug. 29, 2005, storm.

Mitchell and Jones were patrolling the area less than a week later, with Jones behind the wheel, when Brumfield approached. Mitchell shot Brumfield in the left rear shoulder while he was on the hood or sliding off of it, according to the indictment.

During his June 2007 deposition, Mitchell testified he exited the patrol car and checked Brumfield’s vital signs. Jones testified he immediately stopped the patrol car after the shooting and got out to “scan the crowd” while Mitchell checked on Brumfield.

The indictment, however, said the officers “immediately fled the scene” after the shooting.

Brumfield’s family settled a lawsuit against the city in July 2008 for $400,000.

Africa Brumfield, Danny’s niece, said the family doesn’t find any solace in the indictment, but doesn’t “wish any harm” on the officers.

“We simply wanted an apology and an acknowledgment that what they did wasn’t right,” she said. “Instead, they tried to destroy my uncle’s character. They tried to destroy his name.”

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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  • Snoopy-cool_max50

    nolarn2bcop

    almost 4 years ago

    72 Comments

    I live in New Orleans and I will be applying in 2011 when they start hiring again. Katrina was bad but there wasn't an excuse for some of the things that happened there. It's a mess and they need those of us who want to make a change in the way things are done.

  • Tigerstripe_002_max50

    Daysend

    almost 4 years ago

    902 Comments

    That whole time was a crazy mess full of emtions, fear, and with the only thing certain. That people need stuff and willd o you harm to get stuff.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max50_max50

    CAZ

    almost 4 years ago

    1428 Comments

    One has to wonder if anything will come out about the administration of the Department doing things right or failed to do will play a role in this. And it is not only the admin of the Department but also the City Officals ie Mayor and so on. Only time will tell.

  • 1984_v_max600_max50

    MeanStreets949

    almost 4 years ago

    2318 Comments

    Sad situation all the way around. No winners except the attorneys......

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    almost 4 years ago

    11190 Comments

    All of this reminds me of the River Cops scandal involving Miami P.D. officers from back in the mid 80s. Like others have said, iit's a mess .....

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    New Orleans PD has a long way to go to shed its corrupt image...LAPD had to di it, Detroit PD is trying to do it...and NOPD is trying

  • 12235_sq90_max50

    chiefkcr

    almost 4 years ago

    3614 Comments

    A mess in deed !

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    almost 4 years ago

    50320 Comments

    What a mess in New Orleans.

  • Lgfp1322100-authentic-ogre-shrek-2-poster_max50

    MVFall

    almost 4 years ago

    130 Comments

    Ditto No Comment

  • Pro_max50

    expsgt

    almost 4 years ago

    294 Comments

    No Comment... This is messed up, the entire situation.

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