A fourth policeman, Robert Faulcon, was sentenced to 65 years for killing Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man with learning difficulties, by shooting him in the back with a shotgun. Madison's brother, Lance, was then arrested and accused of attempted murder after the police tried to cover up their actions by falsely accusing him of shooting at officers on the bridge. He was held in jail for three weeks before a court freed him.
Lance Madison told the court immediately before the sentencing that his brother was "gunned down and killed without mercy". He said to the convicted officers: "You are the reason I can no longer trust law enforcement."
The four officers were also convicted of an extensive coverup along with a former sergeant, Arthur Kaufman, who was not present when the shootings occurred. The coverup included the officers falsely claiming that they responded to a report of a fellow policeman having been shot and that at least four people opened fire on them when they arrived at the bridge. Kaufman will serve six years in prison.
Sherrel Johnson, Brissette's mother, repeated several times in an emotional statement directed at her son's killers: "I can't for the life of me understand what they were thinking."
Bowen's father, also called Kenneth, said he was proud of his son and that he had made a split-second decision and then acted "in what he thought was the best interest of the community".
The officers sentenced on Wednesday are among 20 policemen charged over killings, assaults and the fabrication of evidence during Katrina. Some have received lengthy sentences in earlier trials. Others pleaded guilty and gave evidence against former colleagues.
In a separate trial last year, three officers were convicted last year over the shooting a young black man and then burning his body in a car.
David Warren was sentenced to at least 25 years in prison for killing Henry Glover, 31. Another officer, Greg McRae, was sent to prison for 17 years for setting fire to a car with Glover's body in it in an apparent attempt to cover up Warren's crime.
Intellpuke: You can read this article by Guardian Washington, D.C., Correspondent Chris McGreal in context here: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/04/new-orleans-police-officers-katrina