Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Police Charged in Post-Katrina Shootings and Cover-Up

Details of coldblooded murder and attempted murder perpetrated by New Orleans police has emerged as a result of the trial against the cops, as reported by Campbell Robertson for the New York Times (Tuesday July 13).

Six New Orleans cops have been charged in connection with the Sept. 4, 2005 killing of 17-year-old James Brissette and the wounding of four members of his family, as well as the shooting to death of Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man with severe mental disabilities, in the back as he tried to flee.

This story, the most high-profile, forms part of a bigger untold story that has the racist New Orleans police department and local government collaborating to terrorize the poor residents, mostly Black, of New Orleans, which had already been left to die by the federal government, as they fled from the man-made flood, caused by a combination of hurricane Katrina and the decades long willful neglect of the levees, that destroyed homes, killed many people, and forced countless more into a desperate struggle for survival.

The article goes on to report these “ghastlier than many in the city had expected” details:

“Responding to a call that the police were under fire, officers drove to the bridge over the Industrial Canal in eastern New Orleans in a Budget rental truck. Some were armed with assault rifles, others with a shotgun or a semiautomatic pistol.

Mr. Brissette and five members of the Bartholomew family were walking across the bridge to get food and other supplies from a supermarket, the indictment reads, when the officers opened fire. Four members of the Bartholomew family were shot. Susan Bartholomew, at the time 38, lost part of her arm; her husband, Leonard Bartholomew III, was shot in the head. Mr. Brissette, who was killed, was shot seven times.

Some officers then traveled to the other side of the bridge and found two brothers, Ronald and Lance Madison, who were on their way to check on a dentist’s office that belonged to their oldest brother, Dr. Romell Madison. According to the indictment, Mr. Faulcon then shot Ronald Madison to death with a shotgun. Afterward, it continues, Sergeant Bowen kicked and stomped on Mr. Madison as he lay dying on the ground.”

Lance Madison, after witnessing his brother's murder by police, is arrested and held on eight tramped up counts of attempted murder only to be released after three weeks in custody, with charges dropped.

The cops, along with Sgt. Arthur Kaufman and former Sgt. Gerard Dugue, both homicide detectives assigned to investigate the shootings, consequently engaged in a cover-up, which the New York Times itself describes as “methodical and blatant”, adding that the court indictment against the cover-up “recounts a scene in the abandoned Seventh District police station where, it says, Sergeant Kaufman and Mr. Dugue met with other officers to ensure that their stories were consistent. Sergeant Kaufman is also accused of creating fictional witnesses and planting a pistol at the scene of the shootings."

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