The trial is beginning in New Orleans’ post-Katrina Danziger Bridge case. The New Orleans Times-Picayune says the defense would seem to face an uphill battle, with hostile testimony expected not only from the survivors of the 2005 police shootings but from five former police officers who either participated in the shootings or admitted helping to cover them up.
The defense is arguing that the shooting was justified and that Hurricane Katrina must be taken into account. “Under the totality of the circumstances, the totality of circumstances, there really is no reason for these men to take any other action than which they took that day,” said Paul Fleming, attorney for former officer Robert Faulcon, who is accused of fatally shooting one victim in the back. Fleming and other police attorneys said the officers were put in an untenable situation and did the best they could. A police radio had reported that shots were fired and officers were “down” under the Danziger Bridge. Prosecutors allege the officers opened fire with reckless abandon on two groups of unarmed citizens, never stopping to assess the situation or ask questions.