NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former New Orleans police sergeant awaiting a new trial on charges in deadly shootings of civilians after Hurricane Katrina was granted a transfer from a Colorado federal prison to the New Orleans area in a judge’s order Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt ordered the move for Kenneth Bowen, one of five officers indicted in 2010 on charges related to the shootings at the Danziger Bridge days after Katrina hit in 2005.
Bowen had been assigned to a maximum security prison in Colorado. His attorneys had said a former police officer was not safe in the facility, which houses violent inmates. They also said he should be moved to New Orleans so he could better assist his attorneys while awaiting trial.
In his brief order, Engelhardt emphasized that Bowen is now a pre-trial detainee and that security restrictions in the federal prisons affect his ability to assist his lawyers. He ordered Bowen moved to the custody of U.S. marshals in the New Orleans area “as soon as is practicable.”
Two people died and four others were injured in the Danziger shootings.
Engelhardt last fall ordered new trials for Bowen, former Sgt. Robert Gisevius and former officers Anthony Villavaso and Robert Faulcon, who were convicted of charges related to the shootings and cover-up; and for retired Sgt. Arthur “Archie” Kaufman, who wasn’t charged in the shootings but was convicted of orchestrating the cover-up.
In his September order, Engelhardt said the case had been tainted by “grotesque prosecutorial misconduct,” and said at least three government attorneys posted anonymous comments on a New Orleans newspaper’s website, creating a “carnival atmosphere” that perverted justice in the case.