Coroner re-classifies post-Katrina death of man shot by NOPD officer

Coroner re-classifies post-Katrina death of man shot by NOPD officer
Former NOPD Officer David Warren after his acquittal. (FOX 8 Photo)
Former NOPD Officer David Warren after his acquittal. (FOX 8 Photo)

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The high-profile post-Katrina killing of a man by a New Orleans police officer has been re-classified from "undetermined" to homicide by the Orleans Parish coroner.

Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse made the announcement Wednesday in the case of Henry Glover, whose body was burned by one police officer after another officer shot him on Sept. 2, 2005. The immediate legal implications are unclear. In December 2014 after a second trial, former NOPD officer David Warren was acquitted of federal civil rights charges for shooting Glover in the days after Hurricane Katrina because he thought Glover was armed.

Glover's family has called for state charges in the case. The New Orleans district attorney's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The officer convicted in a separate trial for burning Glover's body is serving a 17-year federal sentence.

On Wednesday Glover's aunt, Rebecca Glover, said it has been a long fight but the family is happy with the decision.

Rouse released the following statement Tuesday:

"Today, Orleans Parish coroner, Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, announced a change in the medical classification of the death of Henry Glover from 'undetermined' to 'homicide.'

"It is my duty as Coroner to determine the most accurate cause and manner of death based upon both investigative and autopsy evidence," said Dr. Rouse. "If there is new evidence, it must be evaluated, and previous opinions must be re-considered in its light. After a review of all available evidence and a review of court transcripts, it is my obligation to reclassify the death of Henry Glover.

"Classifying deaths is a medical opinion based on all available information, both medical and investigative. The change of a classification of death is not a judicial finding. Those are legal determinations made by courts of law and not by coroners. The medical classification of death simply requires the action of one person causing the death of another.

"Dr. Rouse concluded: "This action today reflects my medical opinion, based upon the totality of the evidence, that the death of Henry Glover was due to the actions of another person.

"To complete this review, it was essential to review information from criminal justice agencies at the federal level. I'd like to thank U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite and FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Anderson for their cooperation."

Warren's attorney, Rick Simmons, released the following statement:

"The coroner's reclassification of Mr. Glover's death as a homicide is not based upon any new evidence and has no effect on Mr. Warren's prior acquittal.

"Because there is no newly discovered evidence, it is fundamentally unfair, if not a violation of the principal of Double Jeopardy, to commence a third trial of Mr. Warren. Federal authorities have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over four (4) years, interviewing hundreds of witnesses, pursued two trials, and finally concluded there is no ballistics or forensic evidence in the case. Fundamentally fair dictates that with no additional evidence, the federal jury verdict as to Mr. Warren should be accepted by state authorities and the public.

"David Warren has been cleared of any wrong doing in the shooting of Henry Glover. He was found “Not Guilty” of Civil Rights Murder in the first trial in 2010, and “Not Guilty” of using excessive force against Glover in the second trial in 2013. Two separate juries found not only that Warren did not murder Glover, but also that his use of force as a police officer in those circumstanced was appropriate, because he feared for his life. Double Jeopardy bars any further federal prosecution and prescription bars any lesser offenses in state court. If the state merely secured the same evidence from federal authorities, Double Jeopardy would apply."

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