One of the police officers charged with covering up the post-Hurricane Katrina killing of a New Orleans man knew more about the role police played in the incident than he previously had let on, according to testimony in a federal trial.
Henry Glover, a 31-year-old resident of the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, was shot by NOPD officer David Warren on Sept. 2, 2005. When three men took Glover to a makeshift police compound for help, they were beaten, and two officers drove off with their car and Glover's body. Glover's charred remains were later found in the burnt-out car on a levee of the Mississippi River.
Glover's death was first detailed by ProPublica nearly two years ago, in an investigative partnership with the Nation Institute and the Nation magazine.
Former Lt. Robert Italiano, one of two officers charged with covering up the crime, has said that he did not realize that the two crime scenes -- the site of the shooting, and the burnt car and remains -- were related.
But new testimony from an Immigration, Customs and Enforcement Agency supervisor undercuts that claim.
ICE Supervisory Agent John Schmidt testified yesterday and this morning that on Oct. 9, 2005 -- just over a month after Glover was killed -- he told Italiano that he had interviewed the man who had tried to save Glover. The man, Will Tanner, who testified last week, had told Schmidt about Glover being shot, about his attempts to get Glover help, and about watching officers drive off in his car with Glover's body. What's more, Schmidt told Italiano, the burnt-out car with human remains found on the levee was registered to Will Tanner.
According to Schmidt's testimony, after telling Italiano about his findings, Italiano told him he "was going to take care of it." Schmidt didn't hear back from any law enforcement about the matter until 2009, when he was contacted by the FBI. (You can read more about Schmidt's testimony in the Times-Picayune’s story here.)
Italiano and Lt. Travis McCabe are charged with the cover up, Officer David Warren is charged with shooting Glover, and Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann and Officer Greg McRae are charged with beating Tanner, Glover's brother, and a friend, and then burning Glover's body.
This summer, ProPublica, the Times-Picayune and PBS's FRONTLINE detailed the story of Glover’s death and subsequent cover-up in an hour-long documentary called "Law and Disorder." Our partners at the Times-Picayune are covering the trial daily. You can see their coverage at nola.com.