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New Orleans officers on trial for post-Katrina death

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • This case is part of ongoing federal probe of the New Orleans police department
  • The victim was burned in a car
  • Attorney for one suspect says shooting was justified

(CNN) -- Jury selection continues Tuesday in the trial of five current or former New Orleans police officers accused in the cover-up of the shooting and burning of a man in the chaos following Hurricane Katrina.

The incident occurred on September 2005 and the victim's body was found near the Patterson Road levee.

Then-New Orleans police officer David Warren is accused of shooting the man, Henry Glover, according to court documents.

The Times-Picayune newspaper, citing a police report, reported that Warren fired at Glover from the balcony of a police station after he saw Glover heading towards the station with something in his hand.

After Glover was shot, bystanders drove the victim to a nearby school looking for help for the wounded man, the paper reported.

But instead the men were allegedly beaten by police officers at the school, who then left the school with a car that had Glover's body in it.

Dwayne Scheuermann and Greg McRae, both New Orleans officers at the time, are accused of beating the men and then burning a Chevy Malibu with Glover's body inside the car, prosecutors said.

Robert Italiano and Travis McCabe, both lieutenants with the New Orleans police department at the time, are accused of faking a police report and lying to federal authorities during an investigation into the incident.

Michael Ellis, an attorney for Warren, said he blamed the incident on the chaos that ensued after Hurricane Katrina.

"Everybody was afraid of everything that transpired," Ellis told CNN-affiliate WDSU. "Hopefully we'll get a jury that's going to listen to all the evidence presented and hear our client's position, as we think it was a justifiable shooting on his behalf."

The case is part of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division ongoing investigation in what it calls "patterns or practices" of alleged misconduct within the New Orleans police department in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Earlier this year, federal prosecutors announced the indictment of at least four New Orleans police officers accused of killing two men in the infamous Danziger Bridge incident.

The shootings occurred at the bridge on September 4, 2005, six days after Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast.

An indictment alleges that two separate shootings at the bridge resulted in the deaths of a teenager and a 40-year-old disabled man.