NEW ORLEANS (Fox News)– The chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina offers no excuse for the actions of five current or former police officers being tried in the fatal police shooting of a man whose burned body was found in a car in September 2005, a federal prosecutor told jurors Wednesday.
In her opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey Knight said Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann and Officer Gregory McRae burned the body of Henry Glover to destroy evidence in the shooting death of the 31-year-old man days after the hurricane devastated New Orleans. Knight also accused former Lt. Robert Italiano and Lt. Travis McCabe of falsifying a report to make it appear as if a former officer, David Warren, was justified in shooting Glover.
Knight suggested that Katrina, which smashed some of the city’s levees and stranded thousands of people in the flooded city for days, emboldened the officers.
“They thought no one was watching and no one would care about Henry Glover, but they were wrong,” Knight told jurors.
McRae’s lawyer, Frank DeSalvo, told jurors his client was under stress from Katrina’s harsh conditions when he made a “very bad decision” to toss a flare in the car and burn Glover’s body.
“He didn’t fathom that he was violating anybody’s civil rights,” DeSalvo said.
The Justice Department’s civil rights division has opened several probes of alleged misconduct by New Orleans police, resulting in charges this year against 20 current or former officers. Its investigation of Glover’s death is the first of those cases to be tried.