Danziger jury hears from brother of man killed on bridge

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 8, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 8 at 6:30 PM

Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS - Jurors wrapped up their second week of listening to testimony in the Danziger Bridge shooting trial.

Five former or current New Orleans police officers are facing charges in the shooting of unarmed people on the bridge and the alleged cover-up.

The jury heard from more government witnesses Friday, including Lance Madison whose brother Ronald was one of the two killed on the bridge that day.

Madison testified that his brother Ronald, who had special needs, rode out the storm in his New Orleans East home, a decision that would leave them stranded on their rooftop for two days as flood waters rose around them.

They eventually made their way to their brother’s dental office in Gentilly near the Danziger Bridge.

Madison said at the bridge he saw a family and some teenagers running back and forth. Then he heard a gunshot.

“I heard this gunshot and when I looked back, and I thought I saw something, I said, ‘Ronald, I think they’re shooting at us,’” Lance Madison said.

Prosecutor Theodore Carter then asked, “Who did you think was shooting at you?”

“Kids,” answered Madison.

He went on to say about his brother, “he was frightened. I told him to run. We started to run up the bridge. When I turned around I saw a truck. ... Next thing I know, they were shooting at us. I was confused. I thought it was a gang trying to shoot at us on the bridge.”

Madison now contends that the teens did not have guns.

He told the jury that his brother Ronald was shot and had trouble running.

When the shooting paused for a moment Madison said his brother Ronald told him “to tell my mother, brother and sisters that he loved us and he shook my hand. I said ‘Ronald, we’ve got to run.’"

The brothers then ran down the bridge together.

Madison said when they got to the base of the bridge, he left his brother and ran to get help. Madison ran into state police who promptly arrested him.

But under cross examination defense attorneys hammered away at Madison’s testimony, saying that in multiple previous statements he had said there were teenagers shooting on the bridge.

“You thought teenagers shot at the police?” Sgt. Kenneth Bowen’s attorney, Frank DeSalvo, asked.

“Yes,” said Madison.

“Before the police started shooting?” asked DeSalvo.

“Yes,” said Madison.

"It was reemphasized over and over that in a number of his statements, Lance Madison said, 'I am sure that they had a gun,'" said Eyewitness News legal analyst and former prosecutor Donald "Chick" Foret.  "Very effective cross examination. The question is, did they have guns, do we believe Lance Madison and his earlier statements, or does the jury accept him for his testimony today and that is that as he sits here today he's not sure that they had guns and doesn't think that they had guns?"

Testimony will resume Monday at 8:30 a.m.

 

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