Sunday, December 31, 2006

And Throw Away the Key.

Apparently, shooting an unarmed, mentally handicapped man in the back is just part of doing your job as an NOPD officer. Hell, we should be thanking the seven cops indicted for the murder of two civilians, including the aforementioned Ronald Madison, the maiming of two civilians, and the attempted murder of still other civilians - at least according to an NOPD officer known online as "Darklaw," who had the following to say in a New Orleans community:

"Please Support the Seven NOPD Officers that are facing indictment and trial for doing their job. They stayed during Katrina and now the System has turned their back on them, with the DA calling them rabid dogs with a gun. DA Eddie Jordan is out to make his biggest political move yet - wait, he did that when he fired every white employee at the DA's office and got sued in Federal Court. Imagine doing your job, during Hurricane Katrina and acting approapriately, acting within reason, and acting to preserve not only your own life, but the lives of others...and being indicted for Murder for it. With no bond. You will sit in prison until the trial is OVER, regardless of verdict."

And so the true miscarriage of justice has been revealed; clearly, these cops were indicted because they're part of our country's most oppressed class - you know, good ol Southern white boys - that just so happen to shoot a lot of black boys.

Obviously, since their own department pronounced them innocent, the case should be closed.

However, before we adhere to this request, let's review some additional details of said case:

"Katrina trek led to bridge
So, when Hurricane Katrina was barreling toward New Orleans, it made sense that Ronald Madison would stay at his big brother's two-story condominium. The family's two dachshunds, Bobbi and Sushi, to whom Ronald was very attached, were with them. Although Lance Madison thought his townhouse would provide safety, after Katrina the area was surrounded by 6 feet of water. After spending a few days in the condo without food and water, the Madisons decided to seek better accommodations at the dental office of their brother Romell Madison on Chef Menteur Highway.

They ended up staying at the office for a few more days, getting supplies at a Winn-Dixie. Madison said they were hoping that buses would take them to safety. But on Sunday morning, six days after the storm, that hope evaporated. Ronald and Lance Madison were out on the highway trying to catch a bus to take them to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, according to Madison's testimony from a Sept. 28, 2005, magistrate hearing. When no buses appeared, they decided to try to get to Fuki Madison's house, but they eventually turned back toward the dental office.

As the Madisons were walking toward the Danziger Bridge, Lance Madison said, six teenagers in white T-shirts and jeans approached them and started shooting. As the Madisons ran up the bridge, away from the gunfire, a group of police in civilian clothes appeared on the scene, Madison testified. They also began shooting, and Ronald Madison was left dead with five gunshot wounds to the back and two to the upper arm, according to the coroner's autopsy report.

In his testimony, Madison said that one officer who shot at him and his brother jumped out of a small postal truck, although he also mentioned that officers arrived at the scene in a rental truck.

Clashing testimonies
In the three federal lawsuits stemming from the day's events, the victims said the seven officers who jumped out of the back of a rental truck did not identify themselves as police.

But police accounts are different, with officers saying they arrived because of reports of sniper fire targeting rescue workers. Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, a homicide detective who arrived after the officers in a commandeered Budget Rent-A-Truck, said at the Sept. 28 magistrate hearing that the officers identified themselves. They fired only after being fired upon by four of seven suspects on the bridge, he testified.

In his testimony and in a police report, Kaufman identified Lance Madison as one of the people shooting at police. He also said that one officer, Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, who has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge, saw Madison throw a gun over the bridge into the Industrial Canal.

David Ryder, who claimed to be a St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office deputy, also identified Lance Madison as one of the people shooting at rescue workers. In fact, Ryder was not a deputy but a man with a criminal record that includes a conviction for false imprisonment and arrests for battery on a police officer and possession of cocaine, according to court documents from Nacogdoches County, Texas.

Madison has said that neither he nor his brother was armed. Fisher produced a record of a polygraph test he said Madison passed on Oct. 3, 2005, in which he said he did not have a gun or shoot anybody.

At the Sept. 28, 2005, hearing, Orleans Parish Magistrate Court Judge Gerard Hansen said he believed Madison. 'I don't think you're one of the shooters. I don't think that, OK,' he said. 'I could be wrong, but I've been doing this for 32 years and I think I have a gut reaction on this.'

The state grand jury apparently also reached that conclusion."

R.I.P. Ronald Madison.


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