NEW ORLEANS (CN) – The teen-age son of a man whom police officers shot to death and burned in the days after Hurricane Katrina sued New Orleans for his father’s wrongful death. Henry Varise says he learned what happened to his father less than a year ago, from newspaper articles.
Varise, now 18, says he learned that his father, Henry Glover, had been shot and burned by New Orleans police officers by reading articles about the police killing and coverup that began in May 2010 in the Times-Picayune.
The articles chronicled the FBI investigation into a series of September 2005 police killing in the days after Hurricane Katrina.
Three days after Hurricane Katrina – and one day after Henry Varise turned 13 – on Sept. 2, 2005, Varise’s father was shot by a police officer and his body was burned so that it was unidentifiable except through DNA.
On the morning of the killing, Glover and a friend were walking behind a strip mall in the New Orleans suburb of Algiers when New Orleans police Officer David Warren, who was stationed on the second floor of the strip mall, saw Glover and shot him.
At the time, neither Glover nor his friend realized the shot fired had been from a New Orleans police officer.
After Glover was shot, his friend ran to get help from Glover’s brother and sister. On the way there, the friend flagged down a stranger who was driving a Chevy Malibu and asked him to drive Glover to get medical treatment. The friend, another friend and the stranger all went together in the Chevy Malibu, with Glover bleeding in the back seat.
The three men and Glover drove to a school that had been turned into a makeshift police station. Inside, the stranger and Glover’s friends asked police officers to help them treat Glover, who was bleeding but alive in the back seat of the Chevy Malibu.
“Instead of offering assistance, Jeff Winn and Greg McRae of the NOPD handcuffed [the men] and beat them. Winn instructed McRae to drive the seriously wounded Mr. Glover to a secluded spot on the Algiers levee. Dwayne Scheurmann was instructed to follow McRae in another vehicle.
“[The] Malibu, with Henry Glover still in the back seat, was intentionally set on fire by McRae with the possible assistance of Scheurmann, causing his body to be burned beyond recognition and leaving DNA as the only method of identification of the remains,” according to the complaint.
“Following the shooting and burning of Mr. Glover, the beating of his attempted rescuers, and the theft and burning of [the Chevy Malibu], various members of the NOPD, including but not limited to David Warren, Jeff Winn, Greg McRae, Travis McCabe, Dwayne Scheurmann, Robert Italiano, Jeffrey Sandoz, Ronald Ruiz, and Joseph Meisch, conspired to cover up the illegal actions of the various members of the NOPD, to contribute to the filing, with the assistance of other NOPD personnel, of an intentionally false and misleading police report about the incidents of September 2, 2005, and thereafter, and then proceeded to lie about the events and intentionally obstruct the federal investigation of the events thereafter.”
Varise, “who resides in the state of Alabama, was unaware of the New Orleans Police Department’s role in the death and mutilation of Henry Glover and the ensuing conspiracy to cover up those actions until the Times-Picayune produced articles beginning on May 24th of 2010 outlining defendants’ roles and duplicity in this ongoing criminal conspiracy.”
Varise adds: “As details concerning the murder of Henry Glover began to surface, and the risk of criminal action against the NOPD for its employees’ actions became more real, portions of the body of Henry Glover were recovered, but the skull, which was said to contain a large hole in it from a probable gunshot wound, remains missing.
“Throughout the course of events surrounding the murder and desecration of Henry Glover, employees of the NOPD orchestrated and continued a cover-up of the illegal activities of the NOPD in shooting and killing Henry Glover, burning his body, attempting to destroy evidence of the crimes, and lying to investigative authorities, a wide-ranging cover-up which included numerous officers and their rank. The truth was only obtained after extensive investigative journalism coverage and an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Justice.”
Varise seeks $2 million for wrongful death and civil rights violations, and punitive damages.
He is represented by Betsy Barnes, with Barnes and Root of New Orleans.