By CAIN BURDEAU | Associated Press – 1 hr 8 mins ago
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Five former New Orleans police officerswere sentenced Wednesday to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for their roles in deadly shootings of unarmed residents on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina.
Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Anthony Villavaso and Robert Faulcon were convicted of firearms charges in the shootings. Retired Sgt. Arthur “Archie” Kaufman, who was assigned to investigate the shootings, was convicted of helping orchestrate the cover-up.
Faulcon received the stiffest sentence of 65 years. Bowen and Gisevius each got 40 years while Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years. Kaufman received the lightest sentence at six years.
A federal jury convicted the officers in August 2011 of civil rights violations in the shootings on the Danziger Bridge and the cover-up.
Police shot six people, killing two, less than a week after the storm’s landfall on Aug. 29, 2005. To make the shootings appear justified, officers conspired to plant a gun, fabricate witnesses and falsify reports.
The case became the centerpiece of the Justice Department’s push to clean up the troubled New Orleans Police Department.
U.S. District Kurt Engelhardt heard hours of testimony earlier in the day from prosecutors, defense attorneys, relatives of shooting victims and the officers.