The Police Account
At approximately 9 a.m., police responded to a report that two officers had been shot in the area of Chef Menteur Highway and Downman Road, near Danziger Bridge, according to the NOPD's report of the incident. Once they arrived, the officers say, they came under fire and began shooting back.
They initially charged Ronald Madison's brother, Lance Madison, with eight counts of attempted murder, but a grand jury declined to indict him.
The Civilians' Account
All of the surviving civilians agree on one thing: They didn’t shoot at the police. They've filed a string of lawsuits against the police claiming their rights were violated; those suits remain on hold as federal authorities investigate.
According to a suit filed by Holmes, the officers didn't issue any orders or warnings before firing their weapons, and their vehicle did not have any markings on it to identify them as law enforcement officers. Holmes says he was shot twice in his abdomen by an officer standing over him.
Investigators assigned to the Danziger Bridge shooting relied heavily on their colleagues' statements for their 54-page report. Reporters at the New Orleans Times-Picayune haven't been able to locate two civilian witnesses who were interviewed for the report, or uncover any evidence that these witnesses actually exist. And another key witness, David Ryder, was a fraud. He told police he was a St. Landry Parish sheriff's deputy, but, in fact, Ryder was a convicted criminal who'd never worked for the St. Landry sheriff.
Eddie Jordan, then the New Orleans district attorney, got an indictment of seven officers on murder and attempted murder charges in December 2006. Citing prosecutorial missteps, a state court judge dismissed the case in 2008.
FBI agents are now investigating the Danziger Bridge shooting. In September, the agents shut down the bridge, trying to recreate the scene and collect any remaining evidence. Dozens of officers and department leaders -– including the current chief and his predecessor -- have been called to testify before a grand jury.