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October 6th, 2008
10:10 AM ET

For man shot in back, Justice too late in New Orleans

CNN's Drew Griffin talks to man who says he witnessed New Orleans Police shoot an unarmed person.
CNN's Drew Griffin talks to man who says he witnessed New Orleans Police shoot an unarmed person.

Drew Griffin | BIO
CNN Investigative Correspondent

The press release form the New Orleans Police Department described him as an unidentified gunmen who was “confronted by a New Orleans Police officers” then “reached into his waist and turned toward the officer.” The New Orleans Police Department told us the officer on that day, Sept. 4, 2005, fired one shot killing the suspect.

I’m guessing the New Orleans Police thought we would just take their word for it. We didn’t.

It took us more than a year, but what we found out about Ronald Madison proved justice in New Orleans is only for those who wear a badge.

Ronald Madison was a 40-year old mentally disabled man who had survived Katrina flooding with his brother Lance. On a Sunday morning they swam out of their mother’s home and headed for the Danziger Bridge. You can read more about their ordeal, and Ronald’s tragic death, in the stories below.

What you need to know now, is three years after he was killed by police, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the

U.S. Attorney's office in New Orleans finally announced they will investigate.

Well it’s about time.

Ronald Madison was unarmed when he died. Ronald Madison was running away from a group of unidentified gunmen driving a postal truck. An autopsy showed Ronald Madison had seven gunshot wounds, all in his back.

Thee gunman turned out to be plain clothes New Orleans cops. It took us a year to find it, but after CNN revealed the autopsy and then found an eyewitness, the 7 officers were indicted. Two weeks ago all the charges against those officers were dismissed by a New Orleans judge because the New Orleans District Attorney’s office violated rules during a grand jury hearing.

All just a little too convenient, isn’t it?

So now, three years later, the U.S. Justice Department is stepping in to perhaps finally bring “justice” to Ronald Madison. Like almost everything else the Feds have done to help New Orleans recover from Katrina, it’s just too little too late.

For more info:
Eyewitness describes killing of Ronald Madison

Autopsy shows Ronald Madison shot in back


Filed under: Drew Griffin • Keeping Them Honest • New Orleans
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Michael Gabriel

    I wish it were true that the corrupt police officer who killed a man by shooting him in the back will suffer the consequences of his actions ... the truth is that no one in power cares about the death of this man. This cowardly police officer will not lose a nights sleep over this and if anything will sleep better knowing that he is above the law. This thug with a badge will most likely fantasize with masterbatorial pleasure as he relieves the thrill he felt from shooting an unarmed man in the back ... over and over and over and over again. If anyone knows this officers name, please do the world a favor and post it on the Internet so we can tell him to his face what a pig he is.

    October 7, 2008 at 1:04 am |
  2. Vicky, Ontario, Canada

    Thanks for the update Drew. I had noted this on the local news area of the main CNN website, typing in New Orleans. How could the DA have violated the rules? Was this the previous DA who was under investigation and I think was replaced? I'm sure there are very dedicated police officers on the New Orleans force, but how can they, or do they, justify fellow officers shooting this man seven times in the back? With the previous charges dropped, are there concerns for the eyewitness? Is this a continuation of the reputation of corruption in local government? It's really tragic that the federal government reponse has indeed been very little, very late, and it's been a repeated theme. I'm trying to understand why. Is it because of racial issues, because votes in New Orleans aren't important for the federal government, because the federal government is wary of corruption in LA.....? Sorry for so many questions, and there may be no clear answers.

    October 6, 2008 at 12:27 pm |
  3. Brenda Harris

    The coward that killed this disabled man will have his whole life to suffer the consequences of his actions. Putting him to sleep would be to good for him. Vengence is the Lord's

    October 6, 2008 at 10:47 am |
  4. Pioneer

    I would like to say that the political corruption in this country is unbelieveable, but the reality is, it is just business as usual.

    October 6, 2008 at 10:32 am |
  5. Cindy

    Well justice for Ronald Madison is better late than never. That is if they will actually do anything to the policemen. My guess is that they won't...they haven't so far and they always protect their own.

    Cindy...Ga.

    October 6, 2008 at 10:29 am |
  6. Michael, NC

    Just goes to show that not everyone has a voice in our country, and it could not be any more obvious that some people seem to think they are above the law. News flash, you aren't. I hope these men are found guilty and put away. That is the least they deserve for what they OBVIOUSLY did. There are just too many holes in the system. Damn shame.

    October 6, 2008 at 10:22 am |