Update on the Danziger Bridge Massacre
The autopsy report of Ronald Madison, 40, a mentally disabled black man killed by the police on the Danziger Bridge on September 4, 2005 in New Orleans has been made public. It appears Mr. Madison died as the result of being shot in the back. Madison was only one of several who were shot by police on that bridge that day.
This contradicts testimony by a police sergeant who claimed the victim turned toward officers and was reaching into his waistband when shot. "Clearly he was shot from behind," said famed New York pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who examined the body for the family's lawyer. A prosecutor said the case will go before a grand jury and acknowledged the investigation includes the possibility of police wrong doing.
A lawsuit was brought against the coroner of Orleans Parish to gain access to Madison's autopsy report. At a court hearing on that lawsuit in New Orleans, the coroner, Dr. Frank Minyard, verified the handwritten autopsy report obtained by news media as one prepared in his office by a pathologist on his staff who listed the wounds as being located in the victim's right back. Under cross-examination Dr. Minyard testified those five wounds in the back "were entrance wounds, yes."
Dr. Michael Baden, chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police, discussed his own observations when he examined Ronald Madison's body for the family lawyer last fall. Asked if Ronald Madison could have been facing the police when shot, Dr. Baden said, "Absolutely not."
No weapon was found on or near Ronald Madison's body.