4 accused murderes allowed to work as cops


May 7, 2004
New Orleans, Louisiana
No wonder the murder rate is so high. Not only did the NOPD cheer for 4 accused murderers and 3 accused attempted murderers as they were jailed, but a judge says its OK for these guys to remain on duty.


NEW ORLEANS -- All seven current or former police officers charged with murder or attempted murder in a bridge shooting after Hurricane Katrina were free on bail Friday, and a judge said the six still on the New Orleans police force can return to limited duty.

One former officer, now a truck driver in Texas, can also return to work, Judge Raymond Bigelow said.

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The seven men pleaded not guilty Friday to murder or attempted murder charges.

Four of the officers face counts of first-degree murder that carry a possible death sentence. A grand jury indicted the seven last week in connection with the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the city's Danziger Bridge that killed two men and wounded four other people.

Although Bigelow said the officers can work, Assistant Police Supt. Steven Nicholas said no decision had been made on whether they would return to duty. They were put on a 120-day unpaid suspension after the indictments, he said.

A Fraternal Order of Police lawyer said he would urge police officials to let the men return to work on a limited basis.

Tracie Washington, spokeswoman for the local chapter of the NAACP, expressed disappointment that officers accused of murder would be allowed out and to return to work.

"There should be accountability on both sides. We want a fair trial, but we want the community to feel safe," she said.

Bail on a first-degree murder charge is rare in Louisiana, defense lawyer Franz Zibilich acknowledged, but added: "Charging police officers with first-degree murder while they're in the course and scope of their employment is equally rare."

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