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TRIAL: Danzinger Shootings of Unarmed by Police During Chaos 

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:28 PM
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TRIAL: Danzinger Shootings of Unarmed by Police During Chaos

Defense: Danziger cops faced worst type of call when responding to bridge.

NEW ORLEANS ― Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys made opening statements Monday in the Danziger trial. Prosecutors said four of the defendants “shot first and asked questions later,” while defense attorneys countered by saying the shootings need to be viewed in the context of the chaos after Hurricane Katrina.

It was the beginning of what could be a lengthy federal trial of five current or former New Orleans Police Department officers charged with Civil Rights violations stemming from a shooting in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Defense attorney Paul Fleming, who represents former NOPD officer Robert Faulcon, opened their case an hour and a half after the prosecution, beginning by saying “these men are not guilty.” He asked the jury to judge the actions of the officers in the context of the dark days after Hurricane Katrina.

“These five guys have one thing in common: They stayed, they did the best they could without adequate food, leadership, supplies and support,” Fleming said.

But it was the prosecutors who fired the first salvo.

The prosecutor detailed how the victims were shot on the bridge. James Brissette Jr, 17, and Ronald Madison, 40, were both killed while Susan Bartholomew, Leonard Bartholomew III, Lesha Bartholomew and Jose Holmes were wounded in the melee on the bridge.

“Ronald, who was unarmed, disabled and already wounded, was blasted in the back,” the prosecutor said.

Additionally, the federal prosecutor said former NOPD officer Mike Hunter saw defendant Kenneth Bowen "stomp on (Ronald Madison) as hard as he could as he lay dying in the street.”

Hunter, who was sentenced to eight years in prison but hopes to get less time in exchange for his testimony, will testify the victims on the bridge were unarmed and posed no threat, prosecutors said.

In the opening statement, the prosecutor said Hunter will tell you “he made the worse decision of his life that day.”

Hunter pleaded guilty along with four other former officers previously and, in court filings that accompanied the guilty pleas, he said he fired a warning shot when he noticed people crossing the bridge. But despite issuing a stop shooting order, other officers didn’t stop.

Prosecutors said the Bartholomew family was shot by Faulcon, who “pumped and he fired and he pumped and he fired at least four times.”

Government witness and former NOPD officer Michael Lohman will testify he saw what appeared to be a family with no guns and decided it was a bad shoot, the prosecutor said.

Talking about the alleged cover-up, prosecutors said Lohman “will tell you how (Arthur) Kaufman told him he was going to plant a gun,” adding that not only was a gun planted, but that phony witnesses and a report were made up, too.

Prosecutors said in their opening statement that the cover-up was extensive, “but that doesn’t mean it was good. It was ridiculously sloppy. You'll see stories change.”

The government’s statement added that “nobody has ever accused these men of waking up Sept. 4 and planning to kill these men. These men rolled out on bridge and cut loose.”

Fleming countered the prosecution in the defense’s opening statement, using the chaos in the days following the levee breaks as a lead-in.

“During the night, people were shooting at the people who were trying to help,” Fleming said.

The morning of Sept. 4, Fleming said police heard “the worst call any police officer can hear – ‘108 – officer needs assistance; 108 – shots fired; 108 – two officers down.”

Kenneth Bowen is facing six charges, including deprivation of civil rights, use of a weapon in a crime of violence and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Robert Gisevius is facing five charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to violate civil rights through false prosecution.

Faulcon is facing seven charges, including aiding and abetting deprivation of civil rights and hindering communication to federal law enforcement.

Anthony Villavaso is facing five charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and conspiracy to violate civil rights through false prosecution.

And Kaufman is facing nine charges, including false statements regarding fabricated witnesses and obstruction of justice.

--The Associated Press aided in this report.

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:30 PM
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Re: TRIAL: Danzinger Shootings of Unarmed by Police During Chaos

this is going to be some shit.

It has been almost six YEARS and the wounds are still GAPING AND GUSHING!!

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Old 06-28-2011, 02:14 PM
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Re: TRIAL: Danzinger Shootings of Unarmed by Police During Chaos

What a world

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