Black Voices is reporting that the trial of five current and former NOPD officers accused of gunning down six unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge post-Hurricane Katrina is now under way in federal court in New Orleans. Four of the officers accused in the case are charged with civil rights violations for the shooting, which killed two, including a teenager and a mentally handicapped man, and left four others severely wounded.
Those officers and a retired homicide detective are also charged with various federal crimes for allegedly covering up the incident and repeatedly lying to investigators. Officers falsely reported that they had been taking fire from a number of people at the bridge when they arrived.
In prior court testimony, officers have admitted to firing on two groups of people who were crossing the bridge that Sunday morning, using handguns, automatic assault rifles and a shotgun. One group was the family of James Brissette, 19. The other was Ronald Madison, 40, and his brother Lance. Brissette was shot and killed and members of his family were injured.
Officers also admitted to killing Ronald Madison. An officer shot him in the back with a shotgun and then kicked him while he lay dying. His brother witnessed the incident.
Six years is a long time for these officers to be brought to court, especially following such an egregious act. We're glad prosecutors are finally getting around to bringing the accused to trial. Firing on unarmed civilians, including a teenager and a disabled man, is unconscionable. The only thing worse than that is then lying to cover up the crime, which is maddening.
We wonder if these officers of the law (tongue planted squarely in cheek) will get what they deserve in terms of prison sentences. Surely if the tables had been turned — five civilians firing on unarmed cops with automatic weapons — then justice would definitely be served.
Read more at Black Voices.
In other news: Michele Bachmann's Facts Not So Factual.