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Death Penalty Will Not Be Sought for New Orleans Police Officers

If convicted, four New Orleans police officers charged with murder in shootings that took place in the wake of Hurricane Katrina will not face the death penalty, a prosecutor said.

Sgts. Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius Jr., Officer Anthony Villavaso II, and former officer Robert Faulcon Jr. are being charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder for their involvement in a Sept. 5, 2005 shooting which left two dead and four wounded.

During the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina police shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally retarded man, and James Brissette, 19, on the Danziger Bridge.

Madison’s brother, Lance Madison, was on the bridge at the time of the shooting and was arrested on charges of attempted murder. He was later cleared of all charges after serving a month in jail.

Three other officers are also facing charges for their involvement in the shooting. Robert Barrios and Mike Hunter Jr. were charged with attempted first-degree murder, and Officer Ignatius Hills was charged with attempted second-degree murder.

Six of the officers were allowed to continue workings and returned to low-profile jobs on Monday. They are not allowed to wear uniforms, carry weapons, or make arrests, and are being monitored by ankle bracelets.

The family of Madison is outrage with the decision to allow the officers to continue working.

"My brother Lance has still not been able to return to work," said Lorna Humphries, sister of Madison. "It's been hard on him. First he watched his brother gunned down then he was arrested. He's been out of work 17 months now, but the police are back. Is that fair?"

Romell Madison, another Madison brother, called on Wednesday for Mayor Ray Nagin to overturn the police superintendent’s decision to allow the officers to return to work.