N.O. officers charged in deadly shooting return to work; NAACP requests investigation
By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer
NEW ORLEANS- Six of the seven police officers charged in a deadly shooting in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina returned to work Monday, but they are not allowed to wear uniforms, make arrests or carry weapons.
Two of the officers were assigned to work at the department's horse stables, two are entering data on computers, and two work in communications, said Assistant Police Superintendent Marlon Defillo.
None of the officers has "access to the public or to sensitive records," Defillo said.
After they were indicted in December, the officers were suspended without pay. All eventually posted bail. Since their release, the officers have been monitored using ankle bracelets that track their whereabouts, Defillo said.
The Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge killed two men and wounded four other people.
Police said the officers were responding to a report of other officers being attacked when they came under fire. Police also claimed one of the victims was reaching for a gun.
Danatus King, president of the New Orleans branch of the NAACP, said the group asked the U.S. attorney and the Justice Department to investigate the shootings. He said letting the officers return to work erodes public confidence in the department.
"The assurance that the officers will be assigned to desk duties does not allay that crisis in confidence," King said.
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten confirmed receiving the request Monday from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, but he declined to say whether his office would investigate. He said the federal government has been monitoring the case.
The shooting victims were Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally retarded man, and James Brissette, 19.
Madison's brother, Lance, denies he or his brother was armed. He said they were running from a group of teens who had opened fire on the bridge when seven men jumped out of a rental truck and also shot at them without warning.
Sgts. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius Jr., officer Anthony Villavaso II and former officer Robert Faulcon Jr. are charged with murder and attempted murder. Officers Robert Barrios, Mike Hunter Jr. and Ignatius Hills are charged with attempted murder.
Faulcon, who is no longer with the police department, has relocated to Texas.