Two computers were removed from the New Orleans Police Department during a search by the FBI as part of a probe into a deadly bridge shooting in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, officials said Monday.
Last September, federal officials announced plans to investigate the officers involved in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge that killed two men and injured four. A state court judge has thrown out murder and attempted murder charges against seven current and former officers, but the FBI is investigating if civil rights were violated.
David Welker, the FBI’s special agent in charge in New Orleans, said in a brief statement that the search warrant executed last week relates to the investigation. An FBI spokeswoman declined further comment Monday.
Police spokesman Bob Young said the department’s Public Integrity Bureau helped federal authorities remove the computers from the Bureau of Investigations.
Officers acknowledged shooting at people on the bridge — but only after taking fire. Religious and civil rights groups called on local prosecutors to refile charges, and the then-district attorney asked the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division to step in. The judge who threw out state charges sided with defense arguments that prosecutors had violated the law by divulging grand jury testimony to a police officer who was a witness in the case.
Survivors of the bridge shooting have said officers fired at unarmed people crossing the bridge to get food.
Romell Madison, whose brother, Ronald, died, said Monday that he felt “uplifted” that the matter was being pursued.
“When time passes, it’s like it’s forgotten, and you don’t know what’s going on,” he said.