It's the second trial U.S. District Judge Lance Africk has held in
three years for David Warren, who was guarding a second-floor police
substation from a balcony when he shot 31-year-old Henry Glover on
the ground in the chaotic aftermath of the 2005 storm.
Warren is charged with violating Glover's civil rights and with
using a weapon in a violent crime.
Warren was serving a prison sentence of nearly 26 years when a
federal appeals court overturned a manslaughter conviction handed
down in 2010. Jurors that year saw and heard prejudicial evidence
because Warren was tried with officers accused of a cover-up that
included burning Glover's body in a car, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals ruled.
The weapons charge originally said Glover's death "involved actions
constituting murder." Africk let the government drop that section,
under which jurors in the first trial also were allowed to consider
manslaughter, from the retrial.
Jury selection began Monday with a group of 47 people. A second jury
pool was to be brought in Tuesday, with the final choice to be made
Tuesday afternoon from those remaining in both pools.
Africk emphasized Monday that Warren's case is unrelated to any
other federal case, including those alleging police misconduct. He
specifically mentioned deadly police shootings on New Orleans'
Danziger bridge after Hurricane Katrina. Warren's attorneys argued
in October that some prospective jurors had mistakenly believed he
was involved in that case.
"This is not the Danziger Bridge case and has nothing to do with
it," Africk told this group.
The New Orleans Police Department had been plagued for years by
complaints about corruption. It came under renewed scrutiny after a
string of police shootings in the aftermath of Katrina.
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In 2011, the Justice Department issued a scathing report alleging a
pattern of discriminatory and unconstitutional conduct by police.
The city and the Justice Department reached an agreement calling for
sweeping changes in police policy, though the city has since
objected to the potentially expensive agreement.
During his first trial, Warren testified that he believed Glover had
a gun when he fired at him.
Defense attorneys have asked Africk to exclude testimony from that
trial as retrial evidence, arguing Warren had to testify because of
evidence that will not be allowed this time. "Any prior testimony by
Warren is inadmissible unless and until he chooses to take the stand
in his defense," they wrote.
Prosecutors responded Friday that prior testimony can be ruled out
only if it was the product of government misconduct, which has not
been found in this case.
Warren was among 20 officers charged in a series of federal
investigations of alleged police misconduct in New Orleans — cases
many saw as catalysts for healing the city's post-Katrina wounds.
Five pleaded guilty; three were acquitted; four convictions were
upheld; seven await retrials after their convictions were
overturned; and another trial ended in a mistrial because of a
Press; JANET McCONNAUGHEY]
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