From theTimes Picayune:
Murder and attempted murder charges against seven New Orleans police
officers, accused of shooting unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge
after Hurricane Katrina, were tossed out by Criminal District Court
Judge Raymond Bigelow, who concluded that an Orleans Parish prosecutor
tainted the secrecy of the grand jury process by showing a piece of
testimony to another officer.
“The violation is clear, and indeed,
uncontroverted. The state improperly disclosed grand jury testimony to
another police officer,” Bigelow said, reading his ruling from the
The judge also dealt a blow to the prosecution on two other pending
defense challenges to the indictment, providing further reason to quash
certain charges against specific defendants.
He concluded former Assistant District Attorney Dustin Davis
improperly gave immunity to three officers for their testimony before
the grand jury, which subsequently indicted those officers, as well as
four others. Bigelow also found that the instructions that Davis gave
to the grand jury considering the attempted murder charges were flawed.
The shootings on Sept. 4, 2005 left two men dead: Madison, a
40-year-old man whose relatives describe him as having the mental
capacity of a child, and 19-year-old James Brissette. Four other people
were severely wounded.
In civil federal lawsuits, survivors of the shooting have said they
were unarmed and ambushed by the officers, who jumped out of the back
of a rental truck and started shooting.
Police officials have acknowledged the officers shot people on two
separate sides of the bridge, but said they did so only after first
being shot at.
Lord David of Humid City blog describes recent activities of the NOPD in his post“I May Actually Vomit.”