WASHINGTON – Ronald Mitchell, 33, an officer with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), was convicted today of obstructing justice and committing perjury during the course of a federal civil suit related to the shooting death of civilian Danny Brumfield in September 2005, announced the Department of Justice.
According to evidence presented at trial, Mitchell gave false deposition testimony during the course of a federal civil lawsuit filed by Danny Brumfield’s wife against the city of New Orleans by intentionally providing false and misleading information regarding the events that took place regarding the fatal shooting. Evidence proved that 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 claiming that immediately after the shooting, he exited the patrol car and checked Brumfield’s vital signs.
However, the jury found that Mitchell’s deposition testimony was false and was given in order to attempt to influence the outcome of the civil suit by misleading the plaintiff’s attorneys. Mitchell knew that he never exited the car to check Brumfield’s vital signs or render aid to the victim.
The jury convicted Mitchell of one count of obstructing justice and one count of committing perjury. Another defendant, Ray Jones, 34, was acquitted of one count of obstructing justice and one count of committing perjury.
“Rather than upholding his oath as a public official, this officer lied and obstructed justice to cover-up the true facts regarding the tragic death of Mr. Brumfield,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to holding officers who engage in criminal conduct accountable, and is continuing in the ongoing process of restoring the community’s confidence in the New Orleans Police Department.”
“Today’s verdict is further evidence of our commitment, in partnership with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the FBI and the New Orleans Police Department to fairly and aggressively challenge corruption within NOPD’s ranks – for our citizens and our community,” said Jim Letten, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana . We will never tolerate either abuses or deceit by anyone charged with the protection of the public.”
Mitchell faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison for obstructing justice and up to five years for committing perjury. Sentencing is scheduled for March 7, 2012.
This case was 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.