Post Mortem
Death Investigation in America

Two NOPD Officers Convicted in Beating Death

Today a New Orleans jury convicted two police officers in the July 2005 beating death of 48-year-old handyman Raymond Robair.

Officer Melvin Williams was convicted of kicking and beating Robair to death with a baton, violating his civil rights and obstructing justice; he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Officer Matthew Dean Moore was convicted of obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI; he faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson examined the Robair case earlier this year as part of our joint Post Mortem investigation with ProPublica and NPR into flaws in our nationwide death investigation system. An initial autopsy by the New Orleans coroner's office had declared Robair's death accidental; as Thompson reported, a second autopsy performed by a forensic pathologist hired by Robair's family documented 23 separate bruises, including a thigh contusion more than a foot long. Robair "was the victim of a beating," the second autopsy report stated.

FRONTLINE, ProPublica and The Times-Picayune have been looking at the New Orleans Police Department in our Law & Disorder investigation, which examines a number of questionable police shootings after Hurricane Katrina. To date, two officers have been convicted and five more have pleaded guilty in the shootings. Explore the six cases we're following here, and learn more about the troubled history of the New Orleans Police Department here.


blog comments powered by Disqus

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

Posted Feburary 1, 2011

Watch Post Mortem »
FRONTLINE series home | Privacy Policy | Journalistic Guidelines | PBS Privacy Policy | PBS Terms of Use

FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation.
Web Site Copyright ©1995-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation