Posted by Edmond Geary on 05-28-2010
One of the ghosts of Hurricane Katrina has surfaced – again. A fifth former police officer has been charged in federal court for covering up the killings of unarmed civilians in the days after Hurricane Katrina. Ignatius Hills was charged in New Orleans federal court with obstructing justice and misprison of a felony. Hills resigned from the police force less than a week ago, obviously in anticipation of this filing.
A week after Hurricane Katrina, police were called to the Danziger Bridge on a report that shots had been filed. Lance Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, and James Brissette, who was 17, were both shot to death by the police. Police arrested Madison’s older brother, Ronald, on eight counts of attempted murder of a police officer. All those charges were later dropped, obviously charges trumped-up by the police to cover their wrongdoing.
Four other former police officers and one civilian have pled guilty to covering up the shootings. They all plead guilty to plea agreements. Hills has been charged by Information rather than Indictment, indicating he is going to plead guilty with a plea agreement. The reason this is indicated by the filing of an Information is that a person has a right under the fifth amendment to the constitution to be charged only by indictment by a grand jury. The government would not bother to file the Information unless Hills’ attorney, Robert Jenkins, had agreed to plead to it. Hills is facing a maximum sentence of eight years.
The government Information claims Hills and others shot at unarmed people and then covered up to make the shootings appear justified. Hills allegedly wrote a police report which accused Lance Madison of eight counts of attempted murder, even though Hills had no firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing by Madison. The Information claims another officer dictated the report to Hills, who signed it, even though Hills believed Madison was being framed.
Hills is accused of getting together with other officers to develop false stories about the incident. Those get-togethers included one particular secret meeting in January, 2006. The government also accuses Hills him of giving false testimony when he testified to a state grand jury in October, 2006.