A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Danziger Bridge Massacre Wrangling

In a plea bargain deal, the death penalty is no longer a possibility for the officers involved in the Danziger Bridge Massacre after hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Assistant District Attorney Dustin Davis from District Attorney Eddie Jordan's office in New Orleans said the DA will ask for the alternative sentence of life in prison without parole rather than execution if the four officers are convicted. He declined to explain the decision.

The relieved officers are Sgts. Robert Gisevius Jr. and Kenneth Bowen; and Officers Anthony Villavaso, and Robert Faulcon Jr. Two other accused officers, Robert Barrios and Mike Hunter Jr. were charged with attempted first-degree murder, and Officer Ignatius Hills was charged with attempted second-degree murder.

Killed on the Danziger Bridge were Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally retarded man, and James Brissette, 19. Four other people were severely wounded. All were trying to reach safety in flood ravaged post-Katrina New Orleans. Ronald Madison's sister Lorna Humphries said family members "Completely support the district attorney's office in their decision."

The accused officers continue to work for the NOPD in low profile jobs. They may not wear uniforms, make arrests or carry weapons, and they're closely monitored, police officials said. The defendants must wear ankle bracelets that track their whereabouts. Ronald Madison's brother, Romell Madison, called for Mayor Ray Nagin to overturn Police Superintendent Warren Riley's decision to let the officers return to work, calling it "a slap in the face of justice."

Another Madison brother, Lance Madison, was arrested and framed for attempted first degree murder immediately after the Danziger Bridge Massacre. He was exonerated of any crime in December, 2006, after spending months in jail.

"My brother Lance has still not been able to return to work," said Lorna Humphries, who owns an engineering consulting firm. "It's been hard on him. First he watched his brother gunned down then he was arrested. He's been out of work 17 months now, but the police are back. Is that fair?"


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