In the chaos that ensued after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, one of the worst examples of police misconduct was the Danziger Bridge shootings, which took place September 4, 2005, and left two dead and four injured at the hands of police officers. To find out more about the recent trial that convicted these officers, read on.
The Events of September 4, 2005
- The Danziger Bridge shootings involved two families who will never be the same again: the Bartholomews and the Madisons. Susan Bartholomew, her husband Leonard, their children Lesha and Leonard, nephew Jose Holmes, and family friend James Brisette were walking to a grocery store when police officers shot at them on the Danziger Bridge. Susan’s arm was blown off; Lesha, Jose, and Leonard Sr. were injured; and James Brisette died. Only Leonard Jr. was able to escape. Officers shot at brothers Ronald and Lance Madison, as well, as they tried to run across the bridge. Ronald was shot in the back and stomped as he lay on the ground, dying as a result, and Lance was arrested.
- After the shooting, the police officers fabricated accounts of what had happened, planted evidence, and made up witnesses to corroborate accounts of their innocence. They planned to blame any irregularities in the case on Hurricane Katrina. If not for a federal civil rights probe into the events, the truth might never have been revealed.
- Nine men were arrested in the Danziger Bridge shootings and faced federal charges for civil rights violations and gun crimes. Four of them pled guilty to lesser charges and received sentences of less than ten years in exchange for testifying against the other defendants. The four officers who went to trial and were found guilty received sentences of at least 35 years, while an officer involved in the cover-up received six years.
Though the Danziger Bridge shootings are especially heinous examples of police brutality and civil rights violations, similar events happen every day. If you’ve been a victim of such a violation in Philadelphia or South Jersey, call the Law Offices of Patrick Geckle at (267) 234-7708.