Former New Orleans Police Department Officer Joshua Colclough appeared shackled in court Wednesday to seek a reduction in his four-year-sentence for manslaughter in the killing of an unarmed man in Gentilly in 2012.
But Criminal District Court Judge Keva Landrum-Johnson agreed to postpone the hearing at the request of Colclough’s attorneys, with no new date set.
That didn’t stop an attorney for the family of the slain man, Wendell Allen, from launching into an attack on the city in the courthouse hallway, a day after Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson’s office released a scathing report on the NOPD’s probe of the officer’s actions.
The report said NOPD brass failed to take action against three officers who gave false statements about the raid that ended with Allen, wearing only pajama pants, dead at the top of the stairs in his mother’s home on Prentiss Street.
The 29-page report focused on Sgt. Bruce Glaudi, a veteran officer who led the investigation into the shooting, which came during a drug raid in which family members claim police never announced their presence while knowing children were in the house.
Attorney Lionel “Lon” Burns appeared with several of Allen’s family members for Colclough’s scheduled hearing but declined to confirm that the Allens, after accepting Colclough’s apology for the killing, had agreed to support a reduced sentence. Natasha Allen, the victim’s mother, planned to speak at the hearing.
Burns, however, suggested the family supported a sentence reduction — “One good thing is, he apologized early on,” Burns said — and that the imprisoned officer could help provide more evidence of a criminally shoddy investigation into the killing.
Colclough, 31, has remained behind bars since he was sentenced in August 2013. Without a reduction, the earliest he could be released is July 27 of next year, according to a state corrections official.
Natasha Allen said Hutson’s report and a video of the shooting that family members just watched have reopened deep wounds, particularly for those who witnessed the shooting and were forced to walk over Wendell Allen’s body, left uncovered by police.
She said those family members, including six children who were in the house, then faced hostile questioning from police who seemed intent on finding an excuse for the officer’s gunfire.
Burns called again for a federal probe and for criminal charges against Glaudi and other officers, saying officials need to act on Hutson’s report. He also called for Glaudi’s immediate firing.
“It’s clear he was the ringleader,” Burns said, for what he described as an investigative snow job.
“Why is this man still on the police force? It is clear he broke the law,” Burns said. “You wonder why the community has no faith in certain police officers. He’s proven himself to be a crooked policeman.”
Burns, who ran for district attorney last year before the courts disqualified him over tax issues, accused Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration of sitting on its hands over Hutson’s report.
Burns noted the mayor’s current push to take down Confederate monuments around New Orleans, urging that he shift his attention. “Those monuments are not here killing black people,” Burns said. “This is what the public wanted a police monitor for. Just this situation.”
A spokesman for District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office said Tuesday that prosecutors did consider possible charges against other people besides Colclough before taking the case to the grand jury, though he declined to offer details, citing grand jury secrecy rules.
NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison issued a statement Tuesday questioning Hutson’s report, which he said was based on an “incomplete review of data” and an “incorrect assumption” that police didn’t issue a warning before barging into the house with a search warrant.
Harrison also disputed the allegation in the report that Glaudi ignored an officer’s statement that he had video of the violent encounter.
Colclough did not speak in court on Wednesday.
His attorney, Claude Schlesinger, said Tuesday that there’s no good reason at this point for keeping the former officer behind bars.
“He’s not a threat, not like keeping violent offenders off the street,” Schlesinger said. “He’s turned his life around, admitted to what he did.”
Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.