NEW ORLEANS?Two New Orleans police officers were indicted Thursday on federal charges in connection with the beating death of a civilian in their custody in July 2005, the Justice Department said.
The indictment charges officer Melvin Williams with violating the constitutional rights of Raymond Robair and alleges that the policeman kicked the man and beat him with a baton, resulting in his death, on July 30, 2005.
Williams and fellow office Matthew Dean Moore were also charged with obstructing justice in a federal probe of the case.
Williams faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison. Moore faces a possible maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
According to the indictment unsealed in Louisiana federal court, the two policemen took Robair into custody on Dumaine Street in New Orleans on July 30. The man, who suffered fractured ribs and a ruptured spleen, was pronounced dead at Charity Hospital later that day.
The case comes two weeks after six New Orleans police officers were indicted in the shooting of unarmed civilians in the days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.
In the incident known as the Danziger Bridge case, two civilians were shot dead and four others wounded in two separate shootings on September 4, 2005 -- one week after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, causing massive flooding and displacing thousands of people.
The indictment Thursday follows guilty pleas from five former New Orleans Police Department officers who admitted to helping cover up the incident.