NEW ORLEANS — A federal jury yesterday convicted three current and former New Orleans police officers and acquitted two others in the death of a man during Hurricane Katrina’s chaotic aftermath.
The jury of seven women and five men convicted David Warren, a former officer, of manslaughter in the shooting death of 31-year-old Henry Glover outside a strip mall on Sept. 2, 2005.
The jury convicted Officer Gregory McRae of burning Glover’s body in a car. Lieutenant Dwayne Scheuermann was acquitted of that charge.
Lieutenant Travis McCabe was convicted of writing a false report on the shooting. Robert Italiano, a former lieutenant, was cleared of that charge.
A total of 20 current and former New Orleans police officers have been charged this year in a series of Justice Department civil rights investigations. The inquiry into Glover’s death was the first of those cases to be tried.
All five of the officers charged in the Glover case testified during the trial, describing the grueling, dangerous conditions they endured after the Aug. 29, 2005, storm, when thousands of desperate people were trapped in the flooded city.
Looting was rampant and bodies rotted on the streets for days because there was nowhere to take them, officers recalled.
With lives on the line, the officers said they had no time to write reports or investigate anything but the most serious of crimes.
Prosecutors said Katrina can’t excuse the officers’ actions, but it may explain them. Assistant US Attorney Tracey Knight said in her opening statement that the storm lulled the officers into thinking “no one was watching and no one would care about Henry Glover.’’
“But they were wrong,’’ she said.