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Seven Officers Face Charges Of Shooting Unarmed Man On New Orleans Bridge
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 2, 2007

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA--Seven New Orleans police officers surrendered as a group at the city jail Tuesday to face charges of murder or attempted murder related to the shooting deaths of two unarmed men in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Last Thursday, a grand jury indicted the officers, who were then promptly suspended without pay pending the outcomes of their trials. Four of the officers were charged with first-degree murder, two with attempted first-degree murder, and one with attempted second-degree murder. First-degree murder convictions could carry the death penalty.

Forty-year-old Ronald Madison, who had intellectual disabilities, was one of the two people killed during the September 4, 2005 incident on the Danziger Bridge over the Industrial Canal. His older brother, Lance, said that he and Ronald were walking on the bridge when a group of teenagers ran up from behind them and opened fire. The brothers started running toward the top of the bridge when officers began shooting at them, killing Ronald at the scene.

The officers reported that they were fired upon when they responded to a call about other officers being shot. They said Madison was shot when they saw him reach into the waistband of his pants -- presumably for a weapon -- then turn toward an officer.

The coroner concluded that Madison died after being shot seven times -- five of those in the back.

Madison, who lived with his mother, had no criminal record.

No gun was found on or near his body when he died.

Nineteen-year-old James Brissette was also shot and killed on the bridge.

The grand jury decided not to indict Lance Madison of eight counts of attempted first-degree murder. He had been arrested and jailed for 26 days after his brother's death, suspected of shooting at officers who claimed they saw him drop a weapon into the canal.

According to Tuesday's Times-Picayune, about 200 people -- most of them members of the police officers' union -- showed up in front of the jail to show their support. An unknown number of protesters were also present.

"Amid applause, some protests, 7 Orleans police officers surrender" (Times-Picayune)
Brother of man killed by police after Katrina sees 'no justification' for shootings
"Grand Jury To Investigate Post-Katrina Police Shooting" May 30, 2006 (Inclusion Daily Express)
"People With Disabilities Among Hardest Hit By Hurricanes Katrina & Rita" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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