By Sabrina Shankman, ProPublica
Former New Orleans Police Officer Jeffrey Lehrmann was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison for his part in the cover-up of the Danziger Bridge shootings, our partners at the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported today.
Lehrmann is one of 11 officers who have been charged in the Sept. 4, 2005 incident, in which police officers opened fire on unarmed civilians, killing two and wounding four others. He was the first of five officers to cooperate with federal investigators.
Lehrmann pleaded guilty in February to concealing a crime, after coming forward and disclosing his role in an extensive cover-up that followed the shootings. According to the bill of information filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Lehrmann "participated in the creation of false reports" and provided "false information to investigating agents." He is the first to be sentenced in the case and is expected to testify in the trial of other officers.
ProPublica, the Times-Picayune and PBS Frontline have been investigating the circumstances around the shooting of 10 unarmed civilians by NOPD in the days after Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the Danziger Bridge case, the killings of Henry Glover, Danny Brumfield, and Matthew McDonald, and the shooting of Keenon McCann remain open federal investigations.
In August, in response to reports by ProPublica, the Times-Picayune and PBS Frontline, federal investigators also launched an inquiry into allegations that high-ranking officers in the NOPD gave orders authorizing police to shoot looters in the chaotic days after the hurricane .
In all, there are at least nine open federal investigations into misconduct by the NOPD, most dealing with incidents that took place after Katrina. So far, 16 NOPD officers have been charged. Another two have been charged in a case from July 2005.