A decade following the shooting death of unarmed Black man Henry Glover in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a coroner has ruled his killing a homicide, throwing into question whether the New Orleans police officer who admitted to firing the lethal shot will be brought up on charges.
Glover’s death had been ruled “undetermined” by a previous forensic expert, exacerbating the grief of the family. But Orleans Parish coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse had different findings.
“It is my duty as coroner to determine the most accurate cause and manner of death based upon both investigative and autopsy evidence,” Orleans Parish coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse said Wednesday to The Times Picayune. “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.”
The family of Glover is hoping that this medical ruling does more than absolve some of their pain and confirm their initial thoughts. They want murder charges against David Warren, a rookie New Orleans police officer who admitted to shooting the 31-year-old Glover in 2005 on the defense that he feared for his life. Warren had been found guilty of civil rights violations in 2010 and sentenced to serve 25 years in prison. Three years later, however, he was acquitted in a second trail.
It’s unclear what the legal ramifications will be of this new classification, but Glover’s family is clear: It wants murder charges filed against Warren, the Times-Picayune reported.
Glover had been shot by Warren and was helped by a passerby who attempted to get him medical assistance.
Warren’s attorney Rick Simmons said in a statement that a new trial because of the reclassification would be “fundamentally unfair.
“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,” Simmons said.
The former Orleans Parish coroner, Frank Minyard, had refused to classify Glover’s death as a homicide, claiming there was not enough forensic evidence left.
There is another part to this case that makes this crime grisly. In 2014, another officer, Gregory McRae, was sentenced to serve 17 years in prison for burning Glover’s body in an attempt to make it look like it was a protest-related death.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk ruled that McRae set the car on fire in an attempt to cover up for other officers. “You did not merely burn a corpse, you, a law enforcement officer, burned a corpse to obstruct justice,” the judge said at the time.
McRae is appealing the conviction.