Tonight, residents of hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, La., can rest a little easier, now that seven dangerous men indicted for murder and attempted murder are off the streets and in jail.
On September 4, 2005, just days after floodwaters drowned most of the city, Ronald Madison and his older brother Lance were crossing the Danziger Bridge, trying to get to a relative’s dental office, when a group of teenagers came up the bridge behind them and started shooting. The two brothers started running away, when a rental truck showed up, several unidentified men jumped out of it, and shot at them.
Ronald was killed, and Lance found himself on the ground with several guns in his face. The gunmen turned out to be police.
The official police report said that Ronald had reached into his waistband and turned around toward the police, as if he had a gun, and people would have believed this lie, since the coroner didn’t want to release the autopsy report. As it turns out, the reason was that the autopsy showed that police shot Ronald in the back. Five times.
Later the police would claim that they had guns but threw them away, but no guns were ever found.
That was enough for the district attorney to investigate, and last week, a grand jury indicted seven New Orleans police officers on charges of murder and attempted murder, charges the officers’ attorneys strongly deny.
“We cannot allow our police officers to shoot and kill our citizens without justification like rabid dogs,” District Attorney Eddie Jordan said. . . .
Police Superintendent Warren Riley called Jordan’s comments “highly unprofessional, highly prejudicial and highly undignified” and urged the community to withhold judgment until a jury decides their guilt or innocence.
“We want justice first and foremost,” Riley said, “but for the district attorney to try and prejudice the community against these officers before all the evidence is heard is really, I think, a sad day for the city.” — Associated Press
Two weeks ago, Kasimir Gaston, the only known eyewitness to the shooting, came forward and said that the two brothers were running away from the shooting when police officers lined up “like at a firing range” and shot him in the back.
Gaston was one of many flood refugees living on the second floor of the Friendly Inn, a low-income motel on the city’s east side. . . .
When asked if Madison had a gun, Gaston said, “I didn’t see any on him.”
CNN has visited the room where Gaston was staying. From that balcony, it is about 100 feet to where Madison was shot and killed. — CNN
The police even managed to put two bullets into Gaston’s truck.
The officers and the charges they face:
Sgt. Kenneth Bowen: one count of first-degree murder of Brissette and seven counts of attempted first-degree murder of Leonard Bartholomew, Susan Bartholomew, Lesha Bartholomew, Jose Holmes Jr., Lance Madison and Ronald Madison.
Sgt. Robert Gisevius: one count of first-degree murder of Brissette and two counts of attempted first-degree murder of the Madisons.
Officer Anthony Villavaso: one count of first-degree murder of Brissette and four counts of attempted first-degree murder of the Bartholomews and Holmes.
Officer Robert Faulcon: two counts of first-degree murder of Brissette and Ronald Madison and attempted first-degree murder of the Bartholomews and Holmes.
Officer Robert Barrios: four counts of attempted first-degree murder of the Bartholomews and Holmes.
Officer Michael Hunter: two counts of attempted first-degree murder of the Madisons.
Officer Ignatius Hills: one count of attempted second-degree murder of Leonard Bartholomew IV. — CNN
The officers turned themselves in today, and a crowd of supporters — supporters of crazed, cold-blooded killers — turned out to support them and wish them well.
One protester shouted “Police killings must stop” and “Racism must go” as the men arrived, but the protester was shouted down by the crowd yelling: “Heroes, Heroes.”
Uniformed police officers from nearby districts joined other supporters embracing the seven policemen and shaking their hands. The Fraternal Order of Police had encouraged rank-and-file officers to gather outside the jail to show their support. One sign in the crowd read, “Support the Danziger 7.” Another read: “Thanks for protecting our city.”
“These men stayed here to protect our city and protect us and this is the thanks that is given to them,” said Ryan Maher, 34, of New Orleans, who described himself as a civilian with friends in the police department.
“It’s a serious injustice,” said Sgt. Henry Kuhn of the Harahan Police Department, one of several uniformed officers from the New Orleans suburbs who joined the crowd. — Associated Press
Protecting the city does not mean shooting innocent people in the back as they try to get away from criminals with guns shooting at other people, covering up the autopsy report which showed that you killed somebody in cold blood, and saying God knows what to the only eyewitness to keep him quiet for over a year.
If that’s your idea of protecting the city, you probably belong in jail, too.