Two New Orleans Police Officers Charged with Perjury and Obstruction of Justice
|U.S. Department of Justice September 30, 2010|
WASHINGTON—Two officers with the New Orleans Police Department have been charged with committing perjury and obstructing justice during the course of a federal civil suit related to the shooting death of civilian Danny Brumfield in September 2005, announced Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division; Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana; and David Welker, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI New Orleans Field Office.
The six-count indictment alleges that Officers Ronald Mitchell and Ray Jones gave false deposition testimony during the course of a federal civil lawsuit filed by Danny Brumfield’s wife against the city of New Orleans. The indictment alleges that the officers intentionally provided false and misleading information regarding the events that took place immediately prior to, during and after the fatal shooting.
According to the indictment, Mitchell shot and killed Danny Brumfield on Sept. 3, 2005, on Convention Center Boulevard in New Orleans. During a deposition in November 2007, Mitchell gave sworn testimony alleging that Brumfield lunged at him with a shiny object and that he fired his shotgun in an effort to protect himself. Mitchell also testified that immediately after the shooting, he exited the patrol car and checked Brumfield’s vital signs. In June 2007, Jones gave sworn deposition testimony stating that he stopped the patrol car immediately after the shooting and covered the crowd while Mitchell checked on Brumfield.
The indictment alleges that Mitchell and Jones’ deposition testimony was false and that they attempted to influence the outcome of the civil suit by misleading the plaintiff’s attorneys. According to the indictment, Mitchell knew that Brumfield did not lunge at him with a shiny object and that he did not exit the car to check Brumfield’s vital signs. Additionally, the indictment alleges that Jones did not stop the car, get out and cover the crowd.
Mitchell faces four felony counts, two for committing perjury and two for obstructing justice. Jones faces one perjury count and one obstruction of justice count.
Mitchell and Jones face a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
This case is being investigated by the New Orleans Field Office of the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Magner for the Eastern District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Christopher Lomax of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.