WASHINGTON - Jeffrey Lehrmann, a former New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) detective, has been sentenced to three years in prison for misprision of a felony in connection with the cover-up of two police-involved shootings on the Danziger Bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that left two civilians dead and four others seriously injured. Lehrmann entered a guilty plea on March 11, 2010, for concealing a known felony by failing to report a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the investigation of these shootings.
According to court documents, Lehrmann learned from an NOPD supervisor (the investigator) that an officer on the bridge “shot an innocent man.” Lehrmann then concluded that the shooting on the bridge was legally unjustified. Lehrmann admitted that he participated with his supervisors in the creation of a report that included false statements by the officers involved in the shootings; false claims about a gun that had been planted by the investigator; and fabricated statements from witnesses who did not exist. Lehrmann also admitted that the report on the investigation included false statements that had allegedly been given by two of the victims from the shooting.
According to the factual basis submitted at the time of his guilty plea, Lehrmann admitted that the NOPD report of the incident contained a false claim that the investigator returned to the bridge the day after the shooting and found a gun in the grass on the east side of the bridge. According to Lehrmann, sometime after the shootings on the Danziger Bridge, he and two sergeants drove with the investigator to the investigator’s home, where the investigator retrieved a bag from his garage. When the investigator was asked what was in the bag, he responded, “a ham sandwich.” Lehrmann then looked in the bag and saw a gun that would be used in the NOPD’s investigation of the Danziger Bridge shootings. Once the investigator assured Lehrmann and the sergeants that the gun was “clean,” meaning that it could not be traced to another crime, they all went along with the plan to plant the gun.
This case, which is ongoing, is being investigated by the New Orleans Field Office of the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein and Trial Attorney Forrest Christian of the Civil Rights Division, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia K. Evans of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.