Federal prosecutors yesterday indicted Marion David Ryder -- known as David Ryder -- in connection with the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge, charging him with lying to federal agents and unlawfully possessing a handgun.
Ryder, 45, is an intriguing character. A convicted felon with no law enforcement experience, he pretended to be a deputy sheriff working for St. Landry Parish in the days after Hurricane Katrina. Armed with a cheap 9-mm handgun, he was posing as a deputy when New Orleans Police Department officers shot six civilians on the Danziger Bridge, according to a bill of information filed in court by federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Ryder deceived FBI investigators during two interviews in 2009, falsely claiming he had been shot at by civilians as he chased them through a trailer park located between the bridge and a nearby highway.
Ryder's statements to NOPD sergeant Arthur Kaufman figured prominently in police reports on the bridge shootings. According to the initial report, Ryder "positively identified Lance Madison as one of several shooters who fired upon him," and said his brother, Ronald Madison, also shot at police. Ronald Madison, a mentally disabled 40-year-old man, was shot five times in the back by police and died in the parking lot of a motel at the foot of the bridge. Lance Madison was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice has been scrutinizing the NOPD's actions during the week after the storm made landfall, dispatching prosecutors from the department's Civil Rights Division to orchestrate a steadily widening probe. Authorities have acknowledged investigations into the deaths of Henry Glover, Danny Brumfield and Matthew McDonald, as well as the non-fatal shooting of Keenon McCann.