Shots on the Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-up in the Wake of Katrina

By Ronnie Greene

Named one of many most sensible books of 2015 through NewsOne Now, and named the most effective books of August 2015 by means of Apple

Winner of the 2015 Investigative newshounds and Editors e-book Award

A harrowing tale of blue on black violence, of black lives that possible didn't matter.

On September four, 2005, six days after storm Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans, teams of individuals intersected at the Danziger Bridge, a low-rising expanse over the economic Canal. One used to be the police who had stayed at the back of as Katrina roared close to, desirous to keep regulate as their urban spun into chaos. the opposite used to be the citizens pressured to stick at the back of with them in the course of the typhoon and, on that fateful Sunday, looking for the fundamentals of survival: meals, drugs, safety. They collided that morning in a frenzy of gunfire.

When the capturing stopped, a gradual forty-year-old guy with the brain of a kid lay slumped at the flooring, seven bullet wounds in his again, his white blouse grew to become pink. A seventeen-year-old used to be riddled with gunfire from his heel to his head. A mother’s arm was once blown off; her daughter’s abdominal gouged by means of a bullet. Her husband’s head used to be pierced by means of shrapnel. Her nephew used to be shot within the neck, jaw, belly, and hand.  Like the entire different sufferers, he was once black—and unarmed.

Before the blood had dried at the pavement, the shooters, each one a member of the recent Orleans Police division, and their supervisors hatched a cover-up. They planted a gun, invented witnesses, and charged in their sufferers with tried homicide. on the NOPD, they have been hailed as heroes.

Shots at the Bridge
explores probably the most dramatic situations of police violence noticeable in our kingdom within the final decade—the bloodbath of blameless humans, conducted via contributors of the NOPD, within the brutal, disorderly days following storm Katrina. It finds the phobia that gripped the police of a urban slid into anarchy, the situations that drove determined survivors to the bridge, and the horror that erupted whilst the police opened fireplace. It rigorously finds  the cover-up that just about buried the reality.  And eventually, it lines the felony maze that, a decade later, leaves the sufferers and their family nonetheless trying to find justice.

This is the tale of ways the folk intended to guard and serve voters can do violence, conceal their tracks, and paintings the criminal approach because the kingdom awaits justice.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Lance’s testimony on July eight, 2011, relating to united states v. Bowen et al. particular his adventure relocating from facility to facility after his arrest. I reviewed the transcript of the bond courtroom listening to held September 28, 2005, on the Hunt Correctional Facility following Lance’s arrest and incarceration, together with sworn testimony through Sergeant Arthur Kaufman. In that listening to Justice of the Peace pass judgement on Gerard Hansen expressed doubt that Lance fired at somebody. I researched Hansen’s heritage as a pass judgement on, together with a profile that aired October 20, 2013, via WWLTV-4 in New Orleans upon his retirement. In September 2014, I visited the relatives Sno-Bliz stand in New Orleans the place he had labored as a toddler. I additionally received a one-page police file, known as a Gist Sheet, that got here less than query on the bond listening to after Lance’s legal professionals spotted units of police handwriting at the unmarried web page. The Gist Sheet, dated September four, 2005, is New Orleans Police division merchandise quantity I-0003-05. information about Ronald Madison’s funeral come from the book “A social gathering of existence” on November 2, 2005. additionally acquired have been Ronald’s dying certificates, ready through the nation of Louisiana in November 2005, and the post-mortem carried out by means of the Orleans Parish coroner on September 14, 2005. The part describing the Bartholomew family’s ordeal after the taking pictures comes from trial testimony by way of mom Susan Bartholomew and nephew Jose Holmes Jr. The scene describing Leonard Bartholomew IV’s reunion along with his relations is outfitted from his testimony within the federal court docket case on July five, 2011, and that of cousin Jose. a number of resources helped me describe what occurred to Sherrel Johnson and her family members within the months after typhoon Katrina. information about her son-in-law Lawrence Celestine’s demise come from a Louisiana Fourth Circuit court docket of Appeals ruling in Andrea Celestine’s lawsuit opposed to the town, Celestine v. urban of recent Orleans, 2010, and from media debts together with a Times-Picayune editorial released November 17, 2010, “Probing the demise of latest Orleans Police Officer Lawrence Celestine. ” gaining knowledge of Sherrel Johnson’s quest to discover her son JJ, I explored a nation of Louisiana division of Public healthiness application intended to attach lacking family after Katrina, together with an announcement, “Identification of Katrina sufferers Continues,” released December 30, 2005. My realizing of that public overall healthiness software used to be enriched via a brand new York instances article through Shaila Dewan, “Storm’s lacking: Lives no longer misplaced yet Disconnected,” released March 1, 2006. I additionally reviewed the post-mortem file played on James Brissette Jr. on September 14, 2005, by means of the Orleans Parish Coroner’s workplace, with Brissette at the beginning defined as “unknown black male. ” different information regarding JJ got here from an interview with Sherrel in April 2012, the Louisiana Weekly profile in 2011 that integrated the truth that she enrolled her son in class in Tennessee, and daughter Andrea’s courtroom testimony in united states v. Bowen et al. bankruptcy 12 sufferers Shine a criminal gentle sooner than the district legal professional filed fees opposed to the officials at the bridge, the households made the 1st public accusations that the police killed unarmed citizens and concocted a cover-up.

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