NEW ORLEANS - A New Orleans police lieutenant who was recently cleared in the Katrina killing case of Henry Glover was reinstated to the force Monday despite objections from Glover’s family.
Lt. Travis McCabe was restored to his former position by the Civil Service Commission in a 5-0 vote.
The reinstatement agreement requires the city pay McCabe for three years of salary and benefits he missed after he was fired in February 2011.
McCabe had been convicted in 2010 of violating Glover’s civil rights by writing a false police report of the fatal shooting and incineration of Glover’s body, but that conviction was reversed on appeal.
The city agreed to bring McCabe back after federal prosecutors recently declined to retry him. A federal judge made the exoneration final on Feb. 6 by formally dismissing the case.
A group of protesters, including members of Glover’s family, urged the Civil Service Commission to keep McCabe from returning to the NOPD, but their request went unheeded.
“The gall of this guy. I mean you covered up all of this and you want your job back?” said Rebecca Glover, the victim’s aunt. “Well I say no to that. Henry doesn't get his job back. Henry's dead, he ain't ever coming back.”
But McCabe's attorney, Eric Hessler, said his client also was a victim in the case – a victim of wrongful prosecution.
“It's a tragedy to the Glover family,” Hessler said. “It's no less of a tragedy to Travis McCabe, who has suffered and his family, who has suffered for this, for nothing that he has done wrong, either criminally or morally.”
Hessler said the city had no choice but to reinstate McCabe after he was free and clear of all criminal and administrative violations.
“Lt. McCabe was fired for one violation only and that was his conviction in federal court,” he said. “Once that conviction was overturned and the government chose not to retry him, their legal cause fell and they did the right thing, and he only thing they could do, by reinstating him."
McCabe's reinstatement was effective immediately, Hessler said. He'll return to his former rank as a lieutenant, but his new assignment has yet to be announced.
The dismissal of the federal charges against McCabe leaves only one conviction remaining out of five officers who originally were indicted in one of the darkest episodes from Hurricane Katrina.
Glover, unarmed and preparing to flee the darkened and flooded city with his family, was fatally shot by officer David Warren as Glover approached an Algiers strip mall.
Warren was convicted along with McCabe at the 2010 trial, but his conviction was thrown out when an appeals court ruled that Warren should have been tried separately from the other four officers. Warren, claiming he shot in self-defense, was acquitted at a retrial in December.
Two other officers – Lt. Robert Italiano and Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann – were acquitted at the 2010 trial, but a fifth officer, Gregory McCrae, was convicted.
McCrae, who admitted setting fire to Glover’s body, was convicted of violating Glover’s civil rights and is serving a 17-year sentence.