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Ex-New Orleans Cop Gets 8 Years For Role in Danziger Bridge Shootings of Civilians

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former New Orleans cop Michael Hunter was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday for covering up and participating in the shootings on the infamous Danziger Bridge of unarmed citizens days after Katrina hit. Two civilians died and four were wounded.

In one of the more disgraceful chapters in the police department’s history, authorities said Hunter, 33, drove to the Danziger Bridge on Sept. 4, 2005, in a large Budget rental truck packed with officers responding to a radio call that said cops on the nearby I-10 bridge had come under fire.

The Justice Department said Hunter, who pleaded guilty in April, admitted that officers on the east side of the Danziger Bridge fired at civilians even though the civilians did not appear to have any weapons.

Hunter said one officer leaned over a concrete barrier, held out an assault rifle and, in a sweeping motion, fired repeatedly at the civilians, who were at that point lying wounded and apparently unarmed on the ground, according to the Justice Department press release.

Hunter also admitted firing his weapon repeatedly at civilians who were running away over the bridge. He admitted that he did not see the civilians carrying weapons and none appeared to pose a threat.

Hunter told authorities he was present when an officer shot and killed one of the citizens, Ronald Madison.

After the incident, Hunter admitted that he and other officers provided false statements about the incident.

Hunter, in a quivering voice, apologized to relatives in the courtroom, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Vance also offered condolences to the relatives of the victims and lambasted Hunter, the paper reported.

“It is hard to imagine a more profound breach of public trust than what happened here,” Vance told Hunter. She described the cover-up and coercion in the case as “appalling perversion” and shocking “savagery.”


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