NEW ORLEANS - Almost six years after police fatally shot two people and injured four others on the Danziger Bridge, amid the chaos after Hurricane Katrina, the trial of five current and former New Orleans police officers is set to begin today in federal court.
The defendants are Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, Sgt. Robert Gisevius, officer Anthony Villavaso, former officer Robert Faulcon, and retired Sgt. Arthur Kaufman.
Five other former NOPD officers have pleaded guilty in the case and are expected to testify.
The trial -- one of the biggest police misconduct cases the Justice Department has ever prosecuted -- is scheduled to last as long as two months.
Jury selection could take days
This case is reminiscent of the case of another group of five police officers tried last fall in the shooting and burning of an Algiers man, Henry Glover. Both incidents occurred during the chaos after Hurricane Katrina.
Four of the officers accused in the Danziger case are accused of civil-rights violations for the actual shooting, which killed two men and left four other people severely wounded.
The group is also charged with various federal crimes related to an alleged whitewash of the incident that prosecutors assert began not long after the shooting stopped.