NEW ORLEANS — Calling the crimes inexcusable and barbaric, a judge sentenced two former New Orleans police officers to prison yesterday for their roles in the shooting death of an unarmed man whose body was set on fire in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
David Warren received 25-plus years for shooting 31-year-old Henry Glover to death, and Gregory McRae got more than 17 years in prison for burning Glover’s body.
US District Judge Lance Africk rejected the notion that the cases would deter officers in the future from staying after a storm to protect the public. When Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, many officers fled the city.
Warren said he thought Glover had a gun and posed a threat when he shot him outside at a strip mall. The judge called his testimony absurd.
“Henry Glover was not at the strip mall to commit suicide. He was there to retrieve some baby clothing,’’ Africk said. “You killed a man. Despite your tendentious arguments to the contrary, it was no mistake.’’
A good Samaritan drove Glover’s body to a police compound at a school. McRae commandeered the vehicle and set it on fire nearby.
“Your conduct was barbaric,’’ Africk told McRae. “The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was made uglier by your disturbing actions. . . . At a time when more was expected of you, you failed miserably.’’
Lawyers for the men argued they deserved some leniency, partly because of the horrific conditions and chaos after the hurricane.
A total of 20 current or former New Orleans police officers were charged last year in a series of Justice Department civil rights investigations. The review of Glover’s death was the first of those cases to be tried.