NEW ORLEANS — For a second time, a former New Orleans police officer was sentenced Friday to more than 17 years in prison for burning the body of a man shot to death by another New Orleans police officer in the chaotic days following Hurricane Katrina.
Gregory McRae already is imprisoned for burning Henry Glover's body. However, an appeals court had ordered a recalculation of his original 17-year sentence after one of his original convictions was thrown out.
In giving the same 17-year, 3-month sentence, U.S. District Judge Lance Africk said that McRae was guilty of covering up an unlawful killing by fellow Officer David Warren. Africk's assertion comes despite the fact that a jury eventually acquitted Warren in the case.
Africk rejected defense motions for departures from federal sentencing guidelines including arguments regarding McRae's mental state following Katrina. He also rejected defense lawyer Michael Fawer's argument that there was no evidence that McRae actually knew Glover had been shot by a police officer when he set fire to a car containing Glover's body on Sept. 2, 2005.
"Regardless of whether one may believe that you had knowledge that Henry Glover was the victim of a police shooting, the fact is that your obstruction of a homicide investigation by burning Henry Glover's body was compounded by your subsequent actions and inactions," Africk said.
He went on to note that McRae went years without telling anyone what he had done.
The Glover case, and the unrelated police shootings of unarmed civilians at New Orleans' Danziger bridge in the days after the storm, brought new attention to a police department plagued by various scandals for years. After Mayor Mitch Landrieu took office in 2010, he invited U.S. Justice Department scrutiny. The city eventually signed a federal court-backed agreement to introduce a multitude of policy reforms.