Danziger: Prosecution rests its case with surprise witness

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 21, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 21 at 9:23 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS - The prosecution rested in the Danziger police shooting trial Thursday – but not before the government called a surprise witness to the stand.

There was some emotional testimony as one of the victims in the shooting told her story to the jury.

Lesha Bartholomew’s testimony was certainly shock and awe for the jury after hearing three days of testimony from the lead investigator in the Danziger case.

Lesha Bartholomew shed some tears as she told the Danziger jury what happened on the bridge on September 4, 2005.

She is one of six civilians prosecutors claim were shot by New Orleans police with no justification.

Bartholomew was 17 at the time of the shooting.

She testified the she heard gunshots as her family approached the bridge.

“I felt a shot in my side. I kept running, got behind the barrier and laid down next to my mom,” Bartholomew told the jury.

“What was happening when you laid on the ground?” prosecutor Theodore Carter asked.

“We kept hearing gunshots,” Bartholomew replied.

“What were you thinking?” Carter asked.

“I was hoping we didn’t die,” Bartholomew said.

“Did anyone say police?” Carter later asked.

“No,” she answered.

“Did anyone say show your hands?” Carter asked.

“No,” she answered.

“Did anyone in your group fire on police?” Carter asked.

“No,” Bartholomew said.

“Did anyone in your group have a gun?” he asked.

“No,” she said.

“Did anyone in your group do anything threatening toward police?” Carter asked.

“No,” she said.

“Certainly they were trying to get some sympathy or emotion out of the jury and I would think that they probably got that this afternoon because she was very sympathetic and certainly her testimony was very emotional,” said Eyewitness News legal analyst and former prosecutor Chick Foret.

The government rested its case after Bartholomew’s testimony.

Her mother, Susan Bartholomew, was the first witness more than four weeks ago.

Thursday afternoon the defense called its first witness – a paramedic from Arkansas who treated the Danziger victims the day of the shooting.

He testified he was close by and described the scene from the approach to the bridge.

“He said he clearly heard gunshots from the right hand side of the bridge from the grassy area, which goes against the government’s theory completely,” said Foret

That theory being that only officers on the bridge shot first and asked questions later.

 

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