By Kathy Finn
NEW ORLEANS, LA., Dec 11 (Reuters) - A federal jury on Wednesday acquitted a former New Orleans police officer of civil rights and gun charges arising from the killing of Henry Glover in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
David Warren was a rookie New Orleans cop and patrolling a strip mall in early September 2005 in the chaos following the deadly storm when he shot the 31-year-old Glover.
Warren, who testified at his trial, said he had feared for his life when he shot Glover, thinking Glover might have had a gun.
The Glover case was part of a series of U.S. Justice Department investigations of alleged civil rights violations by city police officers following the mammoth hurricane that killed some 1,500 people and caused widespread property damage.
"This was a case about every policeman's nightmare, when the policeman must make a decision about whether to fire a shot and perhaps kill someone and not fire a shot and perhaps lose his own life," Richard Simmons, Warren's attorney, said. He called the verdict "just."
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite Jr. issued a statement saying the office is "disappointed" by the verdict.
Glover's shooting occurred as he and his brother, preparing to evacuate the city, stopped at a strip mall to pick up suitcases that had been taken from a store earlier in the day.
Warren was convicted in 2010 for his role in Glover's killing and later sentenced to 25 years in prison. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Warren's conviction, finding he should have been tried separately from other officers accused of covering up the killing, which included burning Glover's body in a car. (Reporting by Kathy Finn; Additional reporting and writing by Mary Wisniewsk; Editing by Philip Barbarai)