A former New Orleans police officer has been acquitted of fatally shooting a man without any justification in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
After 12 hours of deliberation over two days, a federal Jury came to the conclusion on Wednesday and acquitted David Warren on his civil rights violation and firearms charge.
31-year-old Henry Glover was shot to death in September 2005, and his body was later discovered in a burnt out car by another New Orleans police officer.
In the aftermath of the verdict’s announcement, Warren’s family could be seen fighting back tears while several jurors also struggled to keep themselves composed.
Glover’s sister though began to wail uncontrollably and was carried out of the courtroom. Kathy Warren, David’s wife and mother of his five children, could be heard telling a family friend outside of the court, “Oh my gosh, I can’t even get it in my head.”
On Monday, Warren testified that he feared for his life when he saw Glover and another man running towards him and the building that he was guarding on Sept 2, 2005. Warren admitted that he shot Glover because he thought he saw a gun in his hand. However, prosecutors revealed that he wasn’t armed and insist that he didn’t pose any danger.
Richard Simmons, Warren’s defense attorney, described the incident as “a policeman’s worst nightmare, that split-second decision.” He then added, “there’s no winners or losers, there’s just survivors,” before noting, “The benefit of the doubt has to go to the officer.”
In 2010, Warren was sentenced to 26 years in prison after a different jury convicted him of manslaughter. He then proceeded to appeal this verdict, and his prior conviction was overturned in 2012.
The court ruled that Warren should have been tried separately from the four other officers who were charged with covering up Glover’s death.
New evidence surrounding the burning of Glover’s body, which included photos of his charred remains and further testimonies, were deemed to have denied him a fair trial.
Warren insisted that he twice shouted at Glover and his friend Bernard Calloway, “Police, get back!” when they arrived in a van outside a strip mall he was guarding on Sept 2, 2005. He then shot Glover when they tried to run to a gate that gave them access to the building.
However, Calloway insists that Glover was simply standing next to a truck and smoking when Warren shot him. Police officer Linda Howard corroborated that Glover and Calloway were running in different directions at the time of the shooting.
Warren was released from prison on Wednesday.
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