NEW ORLEANS - One day after federal prosecutors dropped their case against former New Orleans Police Lt. Travis McCabe in the deadly 2005 shooting of Henry Glover, the victim's family is calling it an outrage.
In one of the city's darkest chapters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, five NOPD officers were accused in connection with the death of Glover, who was shot at a West Bank strip mall and his body later burned. A federal jury originally convicted Lt. McCabe for allegedly re-writing a police report as part of the alleged cover up, but that conviction was overturned when new evidence emerged. McCabe was slated for a re-trial on March 10, but on Thursday, prosecutors asked a federal judge to drop the case.
"He's of course extremely elated, he's relieved that he's not going to have to endure another trial," said J. Michael Small, McCabe's defense attorney.
Small says the move by prosecutors to drop their charges against his client reveals there was little evidence to show his involvement in the alleged cover up. This comes less than two months after a jury acquitted former officer David Warren in the shooting. Warren maintains he shot Henry Glover at the now infamous strip mall because he believed Glover was armed and threatened his safety. Glover was unarmed.
Of the five officers originally charged in Glover's death, only one, Gregory McCrae stands convicted, for allegedly burning Glover's body to cover up the shooting. McCrae's defense team is requesting a new trial. Former U.S. Attorney Harry Rosenberg says that acquittal and the latest move to drop the case against Travis McCabe are signs of a faltering case for federal prosecutors.
"The case is not unraveling. It's unraveled. At the moment, the civil rights division which normally has a pretty good record for convictions is only batting 20 percent," said Rosenberg.
For the family of Henry Glover, this latest legal setback stings.
"To just let him go is a slap in the face. If this was a white man shot by a black man, there would be no re-trials, nothing like that," said Rebecca Glover, the aunt of Henry Glover.
"I feel for any family who’s lost a loved one, but my client had no involvement in any illegal activity in connection with Mr. Glover's death," said Travis McCabe's defense attorney, J. Michael Small.
Danatus King, the head of the local chapter of the NAACP, said the failing prosecution of the people responsible for Henry Glover's death is disheartening. King sat beside Glover's aunt as she vented frustration at the lack of convictions in the respective cases against the former officers.
"We have not given up on justice for Henry Glover and justice for the community," said King.
But nearly nine years after Glover's death, the search for that justice is proving to be difficult.