NEW ORLEANS -- A re-trial is now underway for the former NOPD officer accused in the deadly shooting of an unarmed man in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
It started with opening statements Wednesday morning. Then the first witness took the stand, describing the moment when the shooting began.
During opening statements at the trial of former New Orleans police officer David Warren, prosecutors painted a picture of a cop who went overboard, shooting an unarmed man with an assault rifle, even though the man, Henry Glover, posed no threat.
Warren fired a single shot at Glover from the second-story balcony of a strip mall, hitting his target from about 60 feet away.
But while prosecutors argued that the shooting was a violation of Glover's civil rights, defense attorney Julian Murray portrayed his client as a conscientious officer who, in the chaos and looting after Hurricane Katrina, felt threatened when Glover approached the building with something in his hands.
As Murray told the jury: "Is he really going to shoot a man callously in the back for no reason when there's a police officer right there to see what happened?"
But the opening witness gave a different perspective. Bernard Calloway, Glover's brother-in-law, was there when he was shot.
He said there was no warning before Warren opened fire.
"Henry was on the side of the truck lighting a cigarette when I heard, "Pop," like a gunshot,” he said. “Then someone yelled, ‘Leave now.’”
Warren was convicted at his first trial in 2010 and sentenced to 25 years, but an appellate court threw out the conviction, ruling that Warren should not have been tried alongside the four officers accused of later burning Glover's body and launching a cover-up.
Federal Judge Lance Africk is going to great lengths to keep this new jury from being tainted by any mention of what happened to Glover's body or the cover-up, including the exclusion of all potential jurors who had even heard about those facts.
The result is a jury that includes one person from New Orleans.