Perhaps the most explosive and explicit example of police brutality in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina took place on September 4, 2005, when a group of officers gunned down six unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge in eastern New Orleans.
Nearly six years later, the trial of five current and former NOPD officers is now underway in federal court in New Orleans. Four of the officers accused in the case are charged with civil rights violations for the shooting, which killed two, including a teenager and a mentally handicapped man, and left four others severely wounded.
Those officers and a retired homicide detective are also charged with various federal crimes for allegedly covering up the incident and repeatedly lying to investigators. Officers falsely reported that they had been taking fire from a number of people at the bridge when they arrived.
In prior court testimony, officers have admitted to firing on two groups of people who were crossing the bridge that Sunday morning, using handguns, automatic assault rifles and a shotgun. One group was the family of James Brissette, 19. The other was Ronald Madison, 40, and his brother Lance (pictured above). Brissette was shot and killed while members of his family were injured. Officers also admitted to killing Ronald Madison. An officer shot him in the back with a shotgun and then kicked while he lay dying. His brother Lance Madison was then arrested for allegedly resisting arrest, though chargers were later dropped.
The defendants include former officer Robert Faulcon, who resigned from the department shortly after Katrina; Sgt. Kenneth Bowen; Sgt. Robert Gisevius; officer Anthony Villavaso; and retired Sgt. Arthur Kaufman.
To read more about the trial and learn about the deadly turn of events that lead to the shooting click here.