A federal judge Wednesday sentenced five former New Orleans police officers to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for the shootings of unarmed civilians in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, prosecutors said.
The ex-officers were convicted in August on a combined 25 counts of civil rights violations in the shootings, which occurred on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after much of New Orleans went underwater when the powerful hurricane slammed into the Gulf Coast.
The stiffest sentence went to former Officer Robert Faulcon, who was handed a 65-year term. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gecivius got 40 years; Robert Villvaso, 38 years; and former detective Arthur Kaufman was sentenced to six years, according to the U.S. attorney's office in New Orleans.
Prosecutors argued the officers opened fire on an unarmed family, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Minutes later, one of the officers shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man described by Justice Department officials as having severe mental disabilities and who was trying to flee the scene when he was shot, according to a Justice Department statement.
One of the officers allegedly "stomped and kicked" Madison before he died, the statement noted.
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