By: Kristen Swiger
It was six years ago that a shooting on the Danziger Bridge left 17-year old James Brissette and 40-year old Ronald Madison dead. The trial for the five officers charged in the shooting began on Monday.
The first witness to the stand was Susan Bartholomew, who was crossing the bridge with her family to get food and supplies when they were suddnely showered with bullets. The testimony turned emotional as she recounted her 17-year old daughter covering her body to protect her.
Bartholomew also lost her right arm that day, and when asked her reaction to the sudden gunfire, she replied, “The police just kept shooting, and I just kept feeling myself being hit. I prayed. I called on the Lord, I didn’t know what else to do.”
Six defendants have also plead guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and are cooperating as witnesses as part of a plea deal.
Lt. Michael Lohman, who turned over false information to the FBI and participated in a plan to plant a clean gun under the bridge, was questioned by defense attorneys and later cross-examined. As a government witness, most of the testimony went against the defendants.
Lead prosecuter Bobbi Bernstein summed up her opening statement by saying, “The officers cut loose with shotguns and assault rifles without even a token effort to identify themselves as police.”
However, the defense quickly answered back with Defendant Robert Faulcon’s attorney Paul Flemming saying, “These five guys had one thing in common. They stayed, They did the best they could without adequate food, leadership, supplies and support.”