N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

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N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby AlicetheKurious » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:57 pm

Published on Thursday, April 8, 2010 by TalkingPointsMemo
New Orleans Cop Explains How Police Gunned Down Unarmed Civilians In Post-Katrina Incident

by Justin Elliott


A former New Orleans police officer has given authorities a shocking account of the killing by police of two unarmed civilians and the wounding of four others on Danziger Bridge in post-Katrina New Orleans.

The account of the September 2005 incident by former Officer Michael Hunter, 33, who pleaded guilty yesterday to charges associated with the coverup of the shootings, is contained in a court filing that you can read in full below.

In this excerpt, Hunter describes another officer shooting Ronald Madison, 40, a mentally disabled man, in the back with a shotgun. A second officer then beat the dying man on the ground, according to Hunter.

At this point in Hunter's account, he and an Officer A had gotten into an unmarked Louisiana State Police car after an initial round of shootings. The car pursued three black men running away near the bottom of the bridge:

"As the unmarked [Louisiana State Police] car pulled to a stop, Officer A, without warning, fired a shotgun at Ronald Madison's back as Madison ran away in the direction of the motel. Defendant HUNTER immediately got out of the car and went to where Ronald Madison was lying on the ground. Ronald Madison was alive, but appeared to be dying. He was lying on his side, with two officers standing nearby. Neither defendant HUNTER nor either of the other officers searched Ronald Madison for a weapon.

As Ronald Madison lay dying on the pavement, Sergeant A ran down the bridge toward Ronald and asked an officer if Ronald was "one of them." When the officer replied in the affirmative, Sergeant A began kicking or stomping Ronald Madison repeatedly with his foot. Sergeant A appeared to be striking Madison's torso with as much force as he could muster. Defendant HUNTER charged toward Sergeant A, who backed off from Madison. As defendant HUNTER walked away, an officer standing nearby appeared shocked that HUNTER had confronted Sergeant A."


(Hunter, an officer, would have been outranked by the sergeant he confronted.)

In the new account of the incident, Hunter admits to firing a handgun "numerous times" at fleeing, unarmed civilians who did not present a threat, but "he did not believe that he struck them." The account makes clear that officers did not see weapons or threatening acts by any of the civilians, but doesn't speculate as to the their motives for opening fire.

Hunter was not charged with crimes relating to the incident itself, but rather the subsequent cover-up. He pleaded to conspiring to obstruct justice and misprision of a felony. He is the third former officer in the past month and a half to plead guilty to charges related to the coverup.

Remarkably, Hunter has remained on the force since the post-Katrina shootings, though he was assigned to a desk job. He only resigned at the end of last month.

The new development has raised speculation that federal prosecutors may be looking to bring charges against officers for the shooting itself, not merely the coverup. Criminal charges for murder were brought at the state level but thrown out in 2008. The Times-Picayune has more.

Here is the full account of what happened according to Hunter: ... Link
"If you're not careful the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed and loving the people doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby chiggerbit » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:04 pm

It's pretty incredible to read this development, nearly five years later, and then go back and read the posts here shortly after it happened:

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4564&p=41136&hilit=Danziger+Bridge#p41136

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4564&p=41139&hilit=Danziger+Bridge#p41139

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4588&p=41498&hilit=Danziger+Bridge#p41498

viewtopic.php?f=25&t=9940&p=95742&hilit=Danziger+Bridge#p95742

"....A police department press release from October 4, 2005, said Madison, described as an unidentified gunman, was "'confronted by a New Orleans Police officer. The suspect reached into his waist and turned toward the officer who fired one shot, fatally wounding him....'"
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby AlicetheKurious » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:12 pm

From the bottom link:

Mary Howell, an attorney suing New Orleans police on behalf of the dead man's family, says there were several potential witnesses living at the Friendly Inn at the time of the shooting. She has accused police of violating procedures by failing to even write down their names.


I wonder if they won big damages (or at least as big as the lady who spilled hot coffee on herself and sued McDonald's)?

It should have been a slam-dunk. On the other hand, criminal charges against the murderers were thrown out by a state court...
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby druff » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:19 pm

Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards.
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby pepsified thinker » Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:49 pm

I remember a discussion/thread here about post-Katrina deaths and cover-ups that mentioned in passing a rumor or second-hand (or third or fourth-hand?) account of disposal of bodies and cover-up of killing of prison or jail inmates. If anyone else remembers that or knows, more, please post.
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby Nordic » Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:52 pm

Didn't Cynthia McKinney claim there was a LOT of this going on there?
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby chiggerbit » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:44 pm

I don't know about RI discussion, pepsi, but here's a transcript of an interview about katrina prisoners who had been abandoned:

http://www.alternet.org/katrina/26073/
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby AmyRose » Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:02 am

chiggerbit wrote:I don't know about RI discussion, pepsi, but here's a transcript of an interview about katrina prisoners who had been abandoned:

http://www.alternet.org/katrina/26073/


Jesus H., Chiggerbit. I read snippets elsewhere of this, but not this detailed. Thanks for posting it. I think one of the comments really summed up this particular tragedy:

Posted by: Newtopia on Sep 28, 2005

I was recently imprisoned for a victimless crime, simple possession of a small amount of marijuana and MDMA (read about it in today's Alternet). I was still in prison finishing out my sentence when Katrina hit, and due to lack of access to television, I was only able to keep up with events in small segments, generally early in the morning.

It was a couple days after the hurricane passed that fellow inmates began wondering what happened to the prisoners down in New Orleans. Being in an institution predominantly populated by Black men, the racial dynamic of the disaster was no surprise to anyone. Knowing this, knowning that most of the poorest residents had been left to die, the inmates began saying "if they left us niggers to die, they sure as hell aint tryin' to save no prisoners. Those mufuckas dead!"

Within the first week it had become their paramount concern. Rumours circulated that CNN had shown footage of prisoners in orange jumpsuits being evacuated, but no one actually saw the footage, and people believed the Correctional Officers had started the rumours to appease the inmates (rumouors are rampant in prison). Very quickly the general consensus was that the prisoners had been abandoned in the jails to die, but no confirmation came in the press, and no one expected one, because, after all, prisoners, like poor Blacks, are amongst the invisible population in this country. Later reports began to circulate that all the Correctional records in New Orleans had been destroyed, and as a result, no one was being released. It was a prisoner's greatest nightmare. Then, there was nothing, until this report (and the initial one a few weeks ago), which confirmed our other, previously unconsidered greatest nightmare, being abandoned in the face of a natural (or terrorist??) disaster.

Although I have taken issue with Amy Goodman at times, I want to commend her and her staff for at least reporting on this. I suspect this is the last we will hear of it, for in the final analysis, who cares about prisoners in a society that has demonized them beyond redemption, even though, as Goodman et.al. point out, most held in the Parish jail were there on petty (drug) offenses?
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby AmyRose » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:27 am

Nordic wrote:Didn't Cynthia McKinney claim there was a LOT of this going on there?


I think Cynthia McKinney is the only one that cared enough to investigate anything during the attempted genocide of african-americans. She also put together this important hearing on December 6, 2005:

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/152819

The Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina held a hearing titled "Hurricane Katrina: Voices from Inside the Storm." Gulf coast evacuees testified about their experiences during and after the hurricane, as well as responses by state, local, and federal officials.


At 53.40 on the video above - Dyan French (aka Mama D) was the last witness and she gave an impassioned speech to congress about her experiences. I will never forget this. Did anyone else see it at the time? Some of the Congress critters were extremely fidgety during her testimony. They were trying to resist her common sense and wisdom. It's hard to do. She's a fighter with compassion.
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby pepsified thinker » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:18 am

meant to say this earlier but better late than never--thanks, Chig for the info. That kind of fits with what I recalled. Feels like it might be connected--I hope the full story will come out some day.
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Re: N.O. Cop Admits Shooting Civilians in Post-Katrina

Postby barracuda » Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:49 am

Due to a user request, I have copied this thread from General Discussion to the Katrina forum. I hope this doesn't cause too much confusion!
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