Investigator says you can shoot unarmed people under certain circumstances

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 19 at 1:24 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS - The lead investigator in the Danziger police shooting case spent a second day on the witness stand.

He was under cross-examination by defense attorneys Tuesday morning.

FBI Agent William Bezak was sticking to the government’s theory about what happened on the Danziger Bridge four days after Hurricane Katrina struck the city.

Defendant Robert Gisevius’ attorney Eric Hessler pressed Bezak on the use of force policy for the NOPD.

The defense claims officers were responding to a call of shots fired and two officers down at the time of the Danziger shooting. Defendants are on trial for the shooting of six unarmed civilians, including two who died.

“Officers will be judged on the constitution and federal law, not whether they violated NOPD policy,” Agent Bezak told the jury Tuesday morning. But, Bezak admitted, “You can absolutely shoot an unarmed person under certain circumstances if you believe your life or the life of another is in danger.”

"That to me is the whole case. Did they use force appropriately?" said Eyewitenss legal analyst Chick Foret.

The defense claims shots may have been fired by civilians under the bridge.

“I have no reason to believe any bullets were fired from the grassy area,” Bezak told the jury. Defense attorney Hessler asked Bezak if he was concerned about the credibility of some of the cooperating witnesses who previously lied to investigators and a federal grand jury.

Bezak responded that all of the cooperators either corroborated each other’s stories or their stories were later corroborated by evidence in the case.

Defense attorneys are still hoping to begin presenting their case later Tuesday afternoon.

 

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