WASHINGTON – Two officers with the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) have been charged in a three-count indictment with federal crimes in connection with the beating death of civilian Raymond Robair in July 2005.
Today’s indictments were announced by 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.
Officer Melvin Williams is charged with violating Robair’s constitutional rights by beating him on July 30, 2005. The indictment alleges that Officer Williams kicked Robair and struck him with a baton, resulting in his death. Robair, who suffered fractured ribs and a ruptured spleen, was pronounced dead at Charity Hospital later on July 30, 2005.
The indictment also charges Williams, along with NOPD Officer Matthew Dean Moore, with obstructing justice by writing and submitting a false and inaccurate incident report regarding their interactions with Robair. Moore also faces one additional felony count, for making false statements to FBI agents in March 2010.
Williams faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison. Moore faces a possible maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
This case, which is ongoing, is being investigated by the New Orleans Field Office of the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Forrest Christian and Jared Fishman of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Rivera for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.