The statement of Judge Lance Africk to former officer Jeffrey Lehrmann at his plea hearing Thursday.
In all of my years as a supervisory assistant district attorney, chief of the criminal division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and almost 20 years on the federal bench, I have neither imagined nor heard of a more treacherous or despicable conduct by law enforcement officers than that which was described today.
You, and others like you, through an elaborate conspiracy of deceit and obstruction, have caused an inordinate degree of mental anguish and pain to those injured at the Danziger Bridge and their families, the families of those who were shot and killed, and Lance Madison, who was wrongly accused.
You have compounded the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in an immeasurable way. You and others should know that but for your cooperation, you would be facing the prospect of a more severe sentence of imprisonment.
Your conduct was an aberration. You have disgraced your badge and caused damage to the credibility and morale of honest, hard-working law enforcement officers who place their lives on the line on a daily basis.
However, in the end, these officers as well as our system of justice will prevail because others know what the words “to protect” and “to serve” with integrity actually mean. You obviously did not.
Judge Lance Africk