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Two New Orleans police officers indicted in 2005 beating death

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
The indictment alleges a New Orleans police officer beat a man in 2005, and that another officer lied about it.
The indictment alleges a New Orleans police officer beat a man in 2005, and that another officer lied about it.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two News Orleans officers face federal charges in a 2005 beating death
  • The incident occurred before Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans
  • Five other current and former New Orleans officers were charged in two deaths after Katrina
  • The Justice Department continues a broad investigation into alleged misconduct
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Washington (CNN) -- Two officers in the troubled New Orleans Police Department have been indicted in connection with the beating death of a civilian in 2005, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The federal indictment alleges that Officer Melvin Williams kicked the victim and struck him with a baton, fracturing his ribs and rupturing his spleen. The victim, Raymond Robair, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Williams and Officer Matthew Moore were also charged with obstructing justice when they submitted a false incident report and failed to tell hospital personnel Williams had beaten Robair, according to the indictment in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Details of the indictment were released by the U.S. Justice Department in Washington.

Moore also allegedly lied about the incident in an FBI investigation in March of this year according to the indictment. Moore is accused of telling federal agents Williams had not kicked or beaten Robair.

Robair's death occurred in July 2005, two months before the city was slammed by Hurricane Katrina.

The indictment of the two officers comes only weeks after five current and former members of the police department were indicted in connection with two deaths at the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Katrina.

All of the charges come as the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division continues a separate broad investigation into the "patterns or practices" of alleged misconduct within the New Orleans police department.

On May 17, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez told New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu that the Justice Department will investigate "allegations of excessive force, unconstitutional searches and seizures, racial profiling, failures to provide adequate police services to particular neighborhoods and related misconduct."

On July 13, in a visit to New Orleans to announce the Danziger Bridge indictments, Attorney General Eric Holder vowed the Justice Department "will not tolerate wrongdoing by those who have sworn to protect the public."

"Making sure that this city's police department is the best that it can be is our sacred obligation," Holder told a crowd in the city.