Jury acquits ex-cop in fatal post-Katrina shooting

A federal jury Wednesday acquitted a former New Orleans police officer of fatally shooting a man without justification outside a strip mall in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.

Jurors for David Warren’s retrial deliberated for 12 hours over two days before acquitting him of a civil rights violation and a firearm charge stemming from the September 2005 shooting death of 31-year-old Henry Glover, whose body was later burned in a car by a different officer.

After the verdict was read, Glover’s sister, Patrice, started wailing and had to be carried out of the courtroom. Several jurors also wiped away tears as they left the courtroom.

As she sat in the courthouse after the verdict, Patrice Glover told the mother of Warren: “He’s guilty, Mama.”

In the courtroom, Warren’s family embraced each other and fought back tears. “Oh, my gosh, I can’t even get it in my head,” Kathy Warren — David’s wife and mother of their five children, who range from 8 to 15 years old — told a relative.

Warren’s lawyers said he would be released Wednesday from the courthouse and go home with his family. He has been in custody since June 2010, when a different jury convicted him of manslaughter.

Warren testified Monday that he feared for his life when he shot Glover because he thought he saw a gun in his hand as he and another man ran toward the building he was guarding. Prosecutors, however, said Glover wasn’t armed and didn’t pose a threat.

Defense attorney Richard Simmons said the case was always about “a policeman’s worst nightmare, that split-second decision.”

“The benefit of the doubt has to go to the officer,” Simmons said, adding that “there’s no winners or losers, there’s just survivors.”

Warren had been sentenced to nearly 26 years in prison, but an appeals court overturned those convictions and ordered a new trial last year.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit ruled that he should have been tried separately from four other former officers charged in an alleged cover-up of Glover’s death. The panel agreed with Warren’s lawyers that the “spillover effect” of evidence about the cover-up, including testimony about the burning of Glover’s body and photos of his charred remains, denied him a fair trial.