Less than two years after Mayor Cantrell generated controversy by seeking to re-hire Warren Riley, who presided over the NOPD operations during the heinous instances of post-Katrina police brutality, the New Orleans Police Department continues to name officers with connections to the Danziger Bridge shooting and other civil rights violations to leadership positions within the force – calling into question the commitment by city and police officials to police accountability that eroded public trust for decades.
On Friday, January 24, NOLA.com reported that Captain Michael Glasser was named head of the NOPD 7th District, which serves the entire New Orleans area east of the Industrial Canal. The majority of the shootings on the Danziger Bridge occurred on this side of the canal. This move was prompted by the retirement of Captain Jenerio Sanders and led to a major reshuffling among the NOPD’s top brass.
Capt. Glasser has served as president of the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO) for nearly 14 years, serving since June 2006. In that capacity, he has supported the officers accused and found guilty of murdering innocent civilians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
In March of 2010, Capt. Glasser used Facebook to host an event called “Support New Orleans’ Finest.” This event served the express purpose of raising money to support legal fees for the police officers both named in federal investigations and directly accused of wrongdoing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Over 200 attendees, paying $20 each, contributed to the event.
Sergeant Robert Gisevius, who later pled guilty to shooting and killing innocent civilians on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005, was actively involved in promoting the event that Capt. Glasser hosted with PANO. Other beneficiaries of the fundraiser included Capt. Jeff Winn and Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann, who were accused of involvement in the coverup of the murder of Henry Glover on September 2, 2005.
A related Facebook page that was listed as an administrator for the event stated: “Some serve with honor. Some consistently give and risk their all to serve, protect and save others. Let’s support [Capt.] Jeff Winn and [Lt.] Dwayne Scheuermann.”
Capt. Winn was later fired from the NOPD after he failed to report that fellow officers shot Henry Glover and burned his body in an attempted coverup. Lt. Scheuermann was indicted but was subsequently acquitted. Sgt. Gisevius pled guilty to obstruction of justice crimes for helping to cover up the murder of two innocent civilians, including a mentally disabled man, on the Danziger Bridge. Four other civilians were shot with AK-47s and assault rifles, causing severe injuries.
One of the organizations that organized the community on behalf of the victims of these shootings was Safe Streets/Strong Communities.
“[Capt. Glasser] has always been so pro-police that he never saw the bigger picture. Even after the truth came out, he never retracted his statements about the police who committed these shootings,” Yvette Thierry, the former Director of Safe Streets/Strong Communities said.
After Mayor Cantrell named Warren Riley as her choice for Police Chief in 2018, a massive public outcry led to her rescinding the offer. While Riley had not served as head of the Department in 2005, he was later named chief and presided as chief while officers worked to bury evidence of their post-Katrina crimes.
While the federal investigations of these officers were underway, Glasser’s organization “depleted much of its coffers” to pay the legal bills for officers named as defendants – who either killed innocent civilians or assisted in the coverup thereof. In the heyday of the investigation by federal authorities, The Lens described Glasser’s work at PANO as “primarily geared toward the whitewashing of the problems endemic to the NOPD: public appeals on behalf of officers accused of the most heinous of conspiracies.”
At the same time, Glasser publicly denied the accusations and downplayed the culture of corruption and secrecy within the NOPD. In a March 2010 story by Nola.com that has since been taken down, Glasser stated “There’s no doubt that some things were done that were improper, but to the level and extent that they were done, it has nothing to do with any culture that could exist.”
Later, in 2012, the city of New Orleans signed the most comprehensive, far reaching police consent decree in American history. One of it’s major goals was to take down New Orleans Police Department’s ‘blue wall’, which for years had allowed bad cops to literally get away with murder.
Glasser further sought to discredit the testimony of key police informants who enabled the conviction of the murderers: “When people cooperate in exchange for things, very often they embellish things in order to enhance their own bargaining position.”
This was not the only time Glasser worked to minimize the malfeasance of New Orleans police officers. On March 20, 2019, three people were killed and six others were injured after criminal suspects crashed into a local business after a high speed chase in Broadmoor. NOPD went on a dangerous, high speed chase on a busy city street that led to the fatal crash that caused a three-alarm fire at Unity-1 Beauty Supply & Hair Salon.
While watchdog organizations praised Chief Ferguson and the Public Integrity Bureau for swiftly disciplining the officers involved, Glasser took to the media to defend the officers who violated police policy and the federal consent decree. “We got officers that are out there trying to catch felons[.] While it was an unfortunate outcome, what they were doing was the job we hired and trained them to do,” Glasser told Nola.com. Glasser denied outright that 6th District officers, who had in the prior three weeks engaged in three other prohibited chases, were violating any rules.
Given this murky history, leaders like Thierry are concerned that his past actions will erode community trust in the police. The Danziger Bridge murders occurred mostly within the Seventh District, which begins East of the Industrial Canal
“How do you do policing when you have been so one-sided?” Theirry asked. “How can he assure the community that he is going to work on their behalf if he has never stood up for justice?”
 This story was quoted in the Lens article linked above.
Note: The article was updated to reflect that former NOPD Police Chief was not appointed.