NEW ORLEANS (AP) - One of five former New Orleans police officers who won a new trial in connection with deadly shootings on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina is seeking his release from prison.
Former Sgt. Kenneth Bowen on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt to release him pending prosecutors' appeal of the judge's decision in September to order a new trial.
Bowen's attorney, Robin E. Schulberg, said her client is willing to submit to whatever conditions of release the court would choose to impose. Prosecutors didn't immediately respond to Bowen's request.
Less than a week after Katrina's 2005 landfall and levee breaches, police shot and killed two unarmed people and wounded four others on the Danziger Bridge. Bowen and three other former officers were convicted of federal civil rights charges stemming from the shootings and a subsequent cover-up.
A fifth former officer, Arthur Kaufman, was convicted of charges that he orchestrated the cover-up. Kaufman, who wasn't charged in the shootings themselves, was serving a six-year prison sentence when Engelhardt agreed last month to free him on bond pending a new trial that hasn't been scheduled yet.
Bowen, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison, and the other three officers convicted at trial have remained in custody since they surrendered to federal authorities following their 2010 indictment. Engelhardt cited allegations of "grotesque" prosecutorial misconduct in his decision to throw out their convictions. The Justice Department has appealed his ruling.
Schulberg argued that her client's prolonged detention is unconstitutional under the circumstances. "Bowen is not the cold-blooded killer that the government made him out to be but rather a diligent police officer who answered another officer's call for help in the midst of the lawlessness and violence which followed the worst natural catastrophe in New Orleans' history," she wrote.