Judge Clears New Orleans Cops in Katrina Shootings

Officers killed 2 men walking across bridge
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 13, 2008 9:48 PM CDT
New Orleans assistant district attorneys Robert White, left, and Eddie Rantz leave the criminal court building in New Orleans Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008.    (Bill Haber)
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(Newser) – A judge threw out murder and attempted murder charges today against seven New Orleans police officers accused of gunning down two men on a bridge in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In quashing the indictments, District Judge Raymond Bigelow agreed with defense arguments that prosecutors violated state law by divulging secret grand jury testimony to a police officer who was a witness in the case.

Survivors of the 2005 shootings have said the officers fired at unarmed people crossing the Danziger Bridge to get food at a grocery store. Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, and James Brissette, 19, were shot and killed by police; four other people were wounded. The officers acknowledged shooting at people on the bridge, but said they did so only after taking fire.