Officer Pleads Guilty in Post-Katrina Danziger Bridge Killing

Saturday, April 10, 2010
Ronald Madison, shot to death on the Danziger Bridge

Former New Orleans police officer Michael Hunter has pleaded guilty in the ongoing trial of numerous law enforcement personnel accused of the September 2005 unjustified shootings of several residents and a subsequent cover-up. He is the first officer involved in the shootings themselves to enter a guilty plea. Two other police officers have confessed to participating in the cover-up.

Hunter told the court that during the Danziger Bridge incident that took place two days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, his fellow officers opened fire on unarmed people. One police sergeant, Kenneth Bowen, fired an assault rifle at wounded civilians at close range after it became clear the police were not under attack. Police had long contended the shootings were justified because someone on the bridge started firing at them.
Hunter also claims another officer, Robert Faulcon, fired a shotgun at a man who was running away, killing him. Two civilians, 17-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison, were killed and four others were wounded by the police. Hunter stated that Sgt. Bowen kicked and stomped Madison as he lay dying.
U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance told the courtroom: “I don’t think you can listen to that account without being sickened by the raw brutality of the shooting and the craven lawlessness of the cover-up.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
U.S. v. Michael Hunter (U.S. District Court, Eastern Louisiana) (pdf)


Paul Harris 7 years ago
The dominos keep falling. As a former Probation Officer I can attest that in far too many law enforcement agencies there's a code of "loyalty". If you narc out another officer you will probably pay for it. It may be a simple slashing of your car tires, or worse, someone not backing you up in a dangerous situation. Until this culture of protecting the guilty, just as it was in the Catholic Church is dismantled we will continue to see these situations arise. Also I wish the media would concentrate more on correcting the mistakes it made in its reporting after Katrina. While we believed the rumors inside, the murders and rapes in the Superdome were not supported by evidence. We all were controlled by fear and rumor. Paul Harris Author, "Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina"

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