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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Encore Presentation: Katrina Killings
Aired September 4, 2006 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Monday morning, August 29th, 2005.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're looking around and you're saying to yourself, is this the end of the world?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no law. There was no order. The police officers decided to shoot first and ask questions later.
LANCE MADISON, BROTHER SHOT BY POLICE: I realized they were shooting at us, and I was running zigzag, you know, trying to dodge the bullets.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, we got guys out here, you know, shooting at the police.
OFFICER THOMAS REDMANN, FIFTH DISTRICT, NOPD: Being the police doesn't give you any magic superpowers. A lot of the bad guys have guns just like ours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody knows the worst case scenario. But I knew this one was ours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands behind your back!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand by. I got 10 people we rescued that we need transported to the Super Dome.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When New Orleans awoke that Monday morning after Katrina, it was only the beginning. Over the next week, a city would become a lake.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get us up on out of here.
GRIFFIN: Its citizens trapped.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold your breath.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
GRIFFIN: Its criminals plunging the city into anarchy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Armageddon. That's what it's like. It's like Armageddon.
GRIFFIN: And a police department with a dark past would break into pieces. And by the end, among New Orleans dead, Danny Brumfield, a 45-year-old grandfather, who his family says was just looking for help when he was killed by police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could you hear people saying, oh, my God. You could you hear people saying, I can't believe the police just did that. It was outrage.
GRIFFIN: Also among the dead, Ronald Madison, a mentally retarded man, shot in the back. He died at the foot of this bridge.
(on camera): They killed your brother?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Two men dead, Ronald Madison and Danny Brumfield. Killed not by Katrina, but by the New Orleans cops they thought were there to protect them.
(on camera): How did it get to that point? With the command staff in tatters, every officer had to make individual decisions, stay and fight or flee, arrest criminals or join them, become heroes or cowards, or possibly even killers.
(voice-over): Some officers crossed the line. Others stepped up and did their jobs.
CAPTAIN JAMES SCOTT, FIRST DISTRICT, NOPD: Once the storm reached about 50 miles an hour, we actually locked the station up and put chains around the station.
GRIFFIN: The NOPD's First District officers rode out Hurricane Katrina in this Canal Street hotel.
LT. SANDRA SIMPSON, FIRST DISTRICT, LOPD: The wind, gusting pretty bad.
GRIFFIN: Lieutenant Sandra Simpson captured the chaos with her video camera.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, man.
SIMPSON: We gathered in the hallways of the hotel with some of our flash lights and we still had some radio communication.
SCOTT: That's another officer on the radio.
GRIFFIN: An officer who was trapped in his attic.
SCOTT: The attic was filling up with water, all the way to the attic vent and he was getting more panicky. There'd be silence, deafening silence.
SIMPSON: And I'm thinking to myself, this could not be real. I cannot be listening to police radio with one of my fellow officers drowning and we can't help him.
SCOTT: So at some point I said do you have your gun? I said shoot all of your bullets and shoot the vent loose.
SIMPSON: And he was able to kick it out and he did get up on the roof of his house. He came on the air and he managed to escape.
SCOTT: Soon as he gets out of the attic, he says something like, can I do anything for anybody? So here's -- you can see the unselfishness of this policeman.
DEBORAH BRUMFIELD, DANNY BRUMFIELD'S WIFE: The rain and everything was over with. We didn't get any water, then all of a sudden we heard a loud boom. And the water was coming up from the floor.
GRIFFIN: Deborah and Danny Brumfield were high school sweethearts who had managed to make it out of the projects to buy their own home in the Lower Ninth Ward. Now, they were trapped there, with Deborah's diabetic mother.
BRUMFIELD: The water got seven feet high inside the house. He asked me to go up into the attic. He asked my mama to climb. She said she couldn't climb the ladder. A 300-something pound woman wasn't going to climb the ladder. He said, mom, I'm not going to let you drown.
GRIFFIN: Danny sawed a hole in the ceiling big enough for his mother-in-law to fit through and then tied a sheet to her legs. As Deborah pulled, Danny pushed until the three of them were safely in the attic.
BRUMFIELD: He said well, we'll ride it out here until the storm is over.
LANCE MADISON, BROTHER SHOT BY POLICE: I was afraid, and my little brother, he was hysterical.
GRIFFIN: About the same time in New Orleans east, Lance Madison was trying to wait out the storm, a career manager for Federal Express, Madison had stayed behind to take care of his younger brother, Ronald, who was mentally retarded and afraid to leave the house. Out of 10 siblings, Lance was the closest to Ronald.
MADISON: A lot of people couldn't understand his words, but by me being around him I understood just about everything.
GRIFFIN: Suddenly, 10 feet of water poured into the house.
MADISON: My brother was real scared and I just tried to calm him down.
GRIFFIN: Lance and Ronald spent three days in their attic.
MADISON: When the water got down about six feet we decided to leave because we ran out of food, no water, and we was getting real dehydrated.
We heard helicopters flying around, but they never came down and rescued us.
GRIFFIN: But the city's eight police districts were also in trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now it's coming right up the steps.
GRIFFIN: Isolated and struggling to survive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. We're trying to be strong. It's hard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are, we are strong.
GRIFFIN: On the far eastern edge of the city, where the Madisons lived, Seventh District Commander Bob Bardy's men were trapped inside Methodist Hospital.
CAPTAIN ROBERT BARDY, SEVENTH DISTRICT, NOPD: Our officers actually witnessed people dying right in front of them.
They were challenged with the fact of, because of contamination, what would they do with some of these bodies? It wears on you, and I say that. It would wear on anybody.
GRIFFIN: Police officers were beginning to realize they were on their own.
SIMPSON: We should have boats. We should have life jackets. We should have motors. We should have fuel. We didn't. We didn't have anything.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Two days after Katrina and across New Orleans, police stations, police cars and even the city's jail were under water.
OFFICER THOMAS REDMANN, FIFTH DISTRICT, NOPD: We didn't know where the command structure of the police department even was physically located, let alone how to communicate with them. It was just roving bands of cops, a lot of us with our own equipment. We just had to wing it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's chaos back in the neighborhoods. People are looting.
REDMANN: Tuesday morning, there were just hundreds of people walking down Canal Street in broad daylight, tearing the security gates off the front of stores, smashing out windows. They were just stealing the city blind.
GRIFFIN: On day two, floodwaters gave way to a flood of criminals.
(on camera): Why are you taking these clothes?
REDMANN: Basically, all we could do was scatter them, run them out of the store. And as you'd run them out of one, they'd be running into the next. It was way more than we could handle and they knew it.
OFFICER PATRICK MANGUS, FIRST DISTRICT, NOPD: I wanted to jump out of that truck and go do something, but if we arrested him, I would have been stuck with some guy in handcuffs walking around with me for the next week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NOPD, the police, took our shoes, took our shoes. We got us some new shoes. That's why we got new ones.
GRIFFIN: The normal rules disintegrated. The cops not only couldn't arrest the looters, they had to break into stores themselves to survive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't say you're welcome to it, but you got to do what you got to do to survive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, now we know what it is to be a looter.
OFFICER RICCI FAYARD, FIRST DISTRICT NOPD: Somebody could look at us commandeering that stuff and saying, you shouldn't have done that. But had we not done that, we couldn't perform the way we did as far as helping other people.
GRIFFIN: But witnesses say some cops crossed the line. Osman Kahn (ph), the owner of Amerihost Hotel, couldn't believe what he saw.
OSMAN KAHN, OWNER OF AMERIHOST HOTEL: I would see a looter and all of a sudden police officer would surround the looter and take the stuff and keep it for themselves.
GRIFFIN: Tuesday night, after the storm, Kahn had opened his doors to the NOPD. Most, he says, were honest and hard-working. But on the tenth floor, there was a problem. A band of rogue cops.
KAHN: They'd probably leave about 9:00, 10:00 at night and come back around 4:30 in the morning.
GRIFFIN: And what did you see them come back with?
KAHN: Oh, everything from Adidas shoes to Rolex watches.
GRIFFIN: The lines had blurred. It seemed there was no difference between criminals and some cops.
In New Orleans, it's an old story.
MARY HOWELL, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: The problems with the New Orleans Police Department have been chronic and long-lasting, unfortunately.
GRIFFIN: In the mid '90s, an investigation found that 10 to 15 percent of the NOPD was engaged in serious misconduct.
HOWELL: There was about a two to three-year period. You could take almost every major felony, state and federal, on the books and we had a police officer who was arrested, charged or convicted with those.
People were more afraid of the cops than they were of the criminals. And frankly, there was often very little distinction between the two of them.
GRIFFIN: That was certainly the case at the Amerihost Hotel, where Hotel Employee Perri Emory (ph) says the rogue cops had grown violent.
PERRI EMORY, AMERIHOST HOTEL EMPLOYEE: They went out, they came back with guns and you look at him and you would say, hey, that's not a New Orleans police gun, it's a personal gun. And they said, they'd taken over this floor, they're taking over this hotel and there's nothing the owner could do about it.
GRIFFIN: Finally, Kahn flagged down a passing camera crew for help. The crew confronted one of the officers guarding the tenth floor fire escape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a New Orleans police officer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. Excuse me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have a badge?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Keith.
EMORY: I'm holding the door, and he's denying me from coming in the door. So then he got his pistol and he pointed his pistol at me. And he told me you think I'm playing? He said, I'm going to shoot your ass.
GRIFFIN: The man at the door holding this gun would later be identified by the NOPD as one of its own.
Superintendent Warren Riley says federal authorities are still investigating the incident.
(on camera): And what's the status of those officers involved?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're still on the police department. They've been assigned to desk duty.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Those officers who tried to do the right thing felt betrayed by those who allegedly helped themselves.
SIMPSON: They don't deserve to wear this badge. If police officers were looting in the true sense of the word, then they should be fired from this job.
GRIFFIN: It wouldn't be the only test some police failed. At the height of the storm, when many officers stayed to protect their city, others simply fled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the cops fled the city, can you truly wear the badge like our motto say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop that vehicle!
GRIFFIN: And would some who wore that badge take anarchy as a license to kill? By the end, Lance Madison's brother, Ronald, would be among the dead.
MADISON: They're acting like they was hunting for animals.
GRIFFIN: And so would Danny Brumfield.
BRUMFIELD: Danny was my friend, my husband. We were supposed to grow old together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here comes the rescue. These two being lifted into the Blackhawk helicopter.
FAYARD: The water was murky. It was full of debris, and it stunk. You could smell it. There were decaying bodies.
A situation like this, it does bring out the best and the worst, sometimes in the same person.
I never thought I'd see the city this dark.
I had moments myself where I wondered why I was here, you know, why -- should I stay here and keep trying to work under these conditions? You know, and it was like, why am I doing this?
GRIFFIN (voice-over): In the First District, Ricci Fayard was living in a venereal disease clinic next door to the police station. His only change of clothes had been infested with ants.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your name? What are you calling yourselves?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The river rats.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The river rats.
GRIFFIN: Dirty and tired, he volunteered to organize search and rescue missions.
FAYARD: We actually saved 27, which isn't a whole lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. FAYARD: These other guys that came later, they saved tons of people, but initially we didn't have the wherewithal to save that many so we saved who we could.
Me and my wife handmade these. I gave one to each of the boat crew, to show that, you know, God was leading us to do this.
OFFICER/REVEREND GERVAIS ALLISON, NOPD: Even as he speaks is declaring that trouble has risen in his life.
Many of the officers were suggesting they wanted some type of worship service.
And he says, if there's a way of escape, if I had wings, I'd fly away.
GRIFFIN: And fly away is exactly what some New Orleans police did. Some would have legitimate excuses, but by day three, with the city ripped to shreds, 400 to 500 officers were missing in action, a third of the force.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello? Anybody here? Police.
FAYARD: We're here to protect and serve. If we leave while there's still people out there that need help, then what's the sense?
GRIFFIN: While the First District "River Rats" were rescuing people, one of their own, Lieutenant Henri Waller, was about to desert them and even tried to convince younger officers to come with him.
LT. HENRI WALLER, FIRST DISTRICT, NOPD: I said look guys, I'm going to be perfectly honest with you, we haven't heard hide nor hair from any of the command staff, except for Chief Warren Riley, who was on the radio. I think we've been forgotten about. I said, look the handwriting is on the wall.
SCOTT: Things are really scary, especially for younger officers. And then they see a ranking officer that's leaving and suggesting that they leave with them and saying that they're going to die, it just undermines everything that you're trying to do.
WALLER: And I said flat out, I said, you know what? I am scared. Everybody here is scared. And the bottom line is, I'm not going to tell these guys everything is going to be OK, when it's not going to be OK.
ALLISON: Just in the past few weeks, many have taken wings and flew away. Some of them took Delta and American. Some took United or Continental. I heard some took some blue and white. Y'all know what I'm talking about.
WALLER: I was in a police cruiser, I took a mark unit.
GRIFFIN: Lieutenant Waller drove his police cruiser home to Baton Rouge, where he decided to stay. He says because his wife need him. She feared family members had been killed in the storm. WALLER: I'm sure the people in the First District by now are probably thinking, you know, that I'm a deserter, a coward, what have you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the cowards that are here on the New Orleans Police Department that fled the city in the time of need, when you raised your right hand, you were sworn to protect these citizens. Can you truly wear the badge like our motto say? Evidently you can't.
CYNTHEIA WALLER, LT. HENRI WALLER'S WIFE: They point out about he took an oath to the police department and everything, but they're failing to remember he also took an oath to God and to myself and to my son when we got married. Many times we've been on the back burner for his job. And this time, I really, really needed him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My family, everybody's family was affected by this, not only theirs. They're not the only one. That's all I have to say.
GRIFFIN: In the end, Lieutenant Henri Waller, along with 86 other cops were fired for abandoning their posts.
ALLISON: I want to you know that there is no pain or suffering greater than betrayal.
WALLER: I don't love you as much as I love my wife and son. If that hurts, then that hurts, then so be it.
GRIFFIN: Danny and Deborah Brumfield, the couple who were stranded in their attic, along with Deborah's mother, were finally being rescued. Wildlife and fisheries officers dropped them off on a highway overpass and told them buses would soon pick them up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're coming to get us?
BRUMFIELD: Thanks for the help.
We waited, and no buses. We had to sleep on the hard concrete for two nights.
GRIFFIN: Deborah's mother, a diabetic, was suffering. Her husband, Danny, tried to get help from passing police officers.
BRUMFIELD: He was trying to stop the cars, asking them when we going to get help? They were just passing us up. Nobody wanted to stop.
GRIFFIN: The Madisons were also stranded. Lance and his mentally retarded brother, Ronald, had stayed home to ride out the storm. But now the flood forced them out of their house and across this bridge, the Danziger Bridge, in search of shelter.
Instead, they had stumbled into a no man's land, full of armed looters.
MADISON: Everything was just out of control. GRIFFIN: It was dangerous?
GRIFFIN (on camera): Looting?
MADISON: Looting, fights, everything was going on at that time.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Just down the street, Captain Bardy's Seventh District cops were under fire.
BARDY: We were bringing people, to save their lives, off the boats here. They were being shot at. Now, why would you shoot at survivors?
GRIFFIN: By day four, the NOPD's mission would change. From rescuing its citizens, to taking back the streets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands where I can see them!
GRIFFIN: For Danny Brumfield and Ronald Madison, it would be fatal.
MADISON: We had no idea that they'd be shooting at us.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Hello, I'm Tom Foreman in Washington. More of "Katrina Killings" in a moment. First, a "360 Bulletin."
John Karr has a court date Monday and his lawyer has a gag order. The judge today barring all parties from talking about the case. Mr. Karr is being held on suspicion of kidnapping, sexual assault and murder in the death of JonBenet Ramsey, nearly 10 years ago.
Seven airline scares today. A Continental flight from Buenos Aires to Newark, New Jersey, held up in Houston after Customs found a half stick of dynamite in a student's baggage. The student, Juan Howard Fish (ph), says he bought the dynamite as a souvenir from his trip to an abandoned mine in Bolivia. His father told the Associated Press it was a stupid mistake.
In addition, six other flights were diverted or disrupted today for everything from unruly passengers to a suspected security breech in one plane's lavatory.
The State Department is investigating allegations that Israel used cluster bombs on civilians in Lebanon. They split into thousands of tiny and deadly bomblets, some of which don't go off until somebody picks them up some times years later. At issue, did Israel break a secret agreement about how the American supplied weapons should be used? The Israeli government says only that it is conforming to international law. And take a look at Ernesto. The season's newest tropical storm. It's headed for Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and if it continues on track, into the Gulf of Mexico where it could become a hurricane.
Those are the headlines. "Katrina Killings" continues in a moment.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): On day four of the storm, the police and National Guard decided to shift their focus. From rescuing people...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Y'all been doing some looting.
GRIFFIN: ... to catching the bad guys.
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco gave the National Guard orders. If they faced violent offenders, shoot to kill.
GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO, LOUISIANA: They have M-16s and they're locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill, and I expect they will.
GRIFFIN: Thursday, September 1st, became the day when the police fought back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop that vehicle!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on, hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your face, on your face!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands behind your back, man.
OFFICER PATRICK MANGUS, FIRST DISTRICT, NOPD: At one point I was carrying on M-16, and we were given permission if there was hostile act towards us, you know, don't think twice about it if you had to shoot or something.
SIMPSON: We could hear gunshots all around us, basically. Most of the firing was coming from the project area, which would be to the north of our station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 606, that's a 10-4.
GRIFFIN: The First District station, under fire, was now calling itself "Fort Apache."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Law-abiding citizens are leaving and now you're getting kind of like the mad Max syndrome, I guess. They're arming themselves and they're going to do what they want to do. We can't allow them to get the station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if anything starts happening, just get moving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We actually had defensive positions on our station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They challenge, and you all should be on target.
SCOTT: In a civilized society, that's pretty bizarre that you have defensive positions on a police station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to make 9/11 look like nothing. I think just the number of people dead is going to be worse and we're not going to...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy said NOPD, die! That's when we realized it, there was like some people out there that maybe didn't want to be rescued and were just out there looking at maybe taking us out.
SIMPSON: Dealing with all of this, some of the things that have happened I just can't comprehend.
GRIFFIN: By the morning of day five, federal troops were guarding the First District. But while the NOPD began taking back the streets, downtown it seemed like the Convention Center had been seeded to the criminals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We starvin'!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But they are raping there. They're killing people there. They're shooting police there.
GRIFFIN: Danny Brumfield was now on his way to the Convention Center. He was alone. His wife and mother-in-law had been evacuated. When we arrived at the center, he found his daughter, and his five grandchildren already there.
SHANTAN BRUMFIELD, DANNY BRUMFIELD'S DAUGHTER: A truck passed by and I saw my daddy get off of it. And he said, well, where are the children? Where are the kids? He hugged my oldest son and he grabbed my little baby and he wouldn't let him go.
GRIFFIN: The Brumfield family had survived the hurricane and the flood. What not all of them would survive is this. Huddled in the crowd, outside the Convention Center.
AFRICA BRUMFIELD, DANNY BRUMFIELD'S NIECE: For those few people who chose to break the law, they made it into the hell that it was. We were listening to a lot of women yell for help. There was rumors of rapes taking place, and from the way the women were screaming, it sounded like those rumors were true. Help! Get him off of me, get him out of me! I was there and that stuff was really going on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were right there in that corner.
S. BRUMFIELD: My daddy made it safe for everybody and we would sleep in shifts. He didn't sleep at all.
A. BRUMFIELD: There was so much going on at the Convention Center that I gave him shears. We had used the shears earlier that day to cut up boxes or anything to lay the children on, because the children had been sleeping on the concrete.
GRIFFIN: His family says Brumfield was looking for help from the police.
A. BRUMFIELD: He saw a police car coming towards us on Convention Center Boulevard, and he made an attempt to flag down the police car. Just like that.
S. BRUMFIELD: I was on the stairs, asleep with the kids, and when I woke up I seen him on a car and all I heard was the gunshot. And I didn't have any movement. I couldn't move. It was like I couldn't even breathe. And my oldest son was asking, what's that? What was that? What was that? I said they shot him.
GRIFFIN (on camera): There are two versions of this story, but both end the same way, Danny Brumfield was killed by police right here in the middle of the street. Police say they gunned down a man in self-defense. The Brumfields say Danny was just trying to flag anyone down who could get his family out.
SUPERINTENDENT WARREN RILEY, NOPD: Did he attack the police officer or was he going for help? He had a weapon in his hand, by the admission, I believe, of a family member. What was the police officer supposed to think at that point? Was somebody jumping on the windshield to shoot him? Or did he jump on the windshield for help? Jumping on a windshield for help just doesn't make sense to me.
GRIFFIN(voice-over): But the Brumfields say the police car ran into Danny.
S. BRUMFIELD: He was standing in the middle of the street and the car was coming fast. They hit him, and that's how he ended up on the hood.
GRIFFIN: The officers involved declined to speak with us, but a police report says Danny Brumfield proceeded to swing the unknown object at an officer in a stabbing-type motion through the passenger side window.
Danny's daughter says that he had the pair of scissors on him, but she didn't see them in his hands.
S. BRUMFIELD: When I raised my head up, I saw my dad on the hood. He was holding on. I saw his hand was balled up. As he was going down to punch through the glass, I heard the gunshot.
GRIFFIN: The police say the officer was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun, feared for his life and fired one shotgun round at the subject through the front windshield of the police car.
S. BRUMFIELD: It said that Officer Ronald Mitchell shot him in self-defense because my dad was trying to stab him with some scissors. It brought me to tears because I knew it wasn't true. My dad wouldn't try and kill anybody for no reason.
GRIFFIN: The police report says due to an enormous crowd of people, the officers wisely retreated to a safe area. The Brumfields say the car actually ran over Danny's body and took off.
A. BRUMFIELD: You could hear people saying, oh, my God. You could hear people saying, I can't believe the police just did that.
GRIFFIN: Danny Brumfield would not be the only one claimed by the fear and anarchy in the wake of Katrina.
Sunday, day seven, was about to dawn in New Orleans. It would be the last day of Ronald Madison's life.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): It was the beginning of a very bloody weekend in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Seventh District Patrolman Lawrence Celestine had rescued stranded citizens, helped care for patients at a hospital and even carried away the dead.
Now, Celestine stood on the balcony of a nursing home, a gun in each hand, and took his own life.
BARDY: I think that every person in this world probably has a breaking point and I think that he reached his.
GRIFFIN: Two days after one of their own committed suicide, officers in the Seventh District heard a frightening radio call. Fellow officers in trouble, under the Danziger Bridge.
BARDY: Cops are being shot at. Things were just chaotic, you know, it was like martial law out here.
GRIFFIN: As Bardy's men rushed to the scene, Lance Madison and his brother, Ronald, were crossing the Danziger Bridge, looking for rescue from the flood. Suddenly they heard gunshots coming from teenagers behind them. Then two trucks pulled up filled with men carrying assault rifles. They were the Seventh District officers responding to the radio call. But because they were in dark jumpsuits, Madison says he couldn't tell they were cops and now they were coming after him.
(on camera): So at that moment, who did you think these guys in the trucks were?
MADISON: I had no idea. I had no idea at all. I just kept running as fast as I could just to survive, where I wouldn't get killed, you know.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Captain Bardy says his officers were shooting in self-defense. BARDY: This was a full-fledged firefight. I mean, they were taking fire and they were returning fire.
GRIFFIN: But Lance Madison says that police officers were the only ones shooting as he and his brother ran for safety. At the top of the bridge, he noticed blood coming from his brother's shoulder. Ronald couldn't go on.
MADISON: He told me to tell my brothers and my sister that he loved them and to tell my mother that he love her, and he shook my hand at the top of the bridge and I just picked him up and I ran all the way down and I told him, I said everything will be all right.
GRIFFIN: Lance, a former football player, carried Ronald to this motel, where he placed him on the ground, in front of it.
MADISON: I told him, I said be quiet, you know, be calm, because I don't want you to, you know, be bleeding and I wanted to try to keep him calm.
GRIFFIN: Lance ran through the motel's courtyard, looking for help and then he says the truck drove up, and the shooting started up again.
(on camera): It was like you were being hunted by whoever was in that truck.
MADISON: Yes. That's what I thought it was, it seemed like I really didn't know who was in the truck and whoever was in there, you know, they just came and tried to shoot both of us.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Lance ran out of the back of the motel, ran until he found help, or so he thought.
MADISON: When I saw the National Guards and the state patrolmen, I felt relieved that I could finally get some help.
GRIFFIN: Instead, they cuffed him.
MADISON: I tried to explain to them what was going on, said my little brother been shot. He needs some medical attention.
GRIFFIN: Under arrest, Lance was taken back to the motel where his brother, Ronald, lay lifeless on the ground. That's when he realized the men who had been shooting at him and his brother were actually NOPD.
MADISON: They kept cursing me and hollering at me, saying shut up, we don't want to hear it. You was shooting at us. I said I was not shooting at y'all. I said y'all got the wrong guy. I said you could give me a lie detector test or you give me gun powder test. I'll prove to you that, you know, I was nowhere around this.
GRIFFIN: A witness for the NOPD was at the top of the I-10 bridge when he says he saw Lance Madison shoot at him. That's a distance of about three football fields from where Lance was on the Danziger Bridge.
The NOPD refers to this man as St. Landry's Deputy Sheriff David Ryder, but there's just one problem with that. The sheriff's office in that parish says he doesn't work for them. In fact, Ryder has a criminal past that includes convictions for false imprisonment and felony theft. Ryder refused to talk to CNN on camera, but when asked what he had witnessed, he told us over the phone, quote, "I don't kiss and tell nothing."
There are other problems with the NOPD story. Police testified an officer saw Lance throw a gun into the canal. But because of the high waters, police made no attempt to find it. Five weeks later, a gun was put into evidence that police said belonged to Lance Madison.
MADISON: It's a story they made up, alibis to cover themselves. I didn't have no weapon at all. My little brother didn't have no weapon. We were just trying to get rescued.
GRIFFIN: The police maintain their officers shot Ronald Madison in self-defense, after he quote, "reached into his waist and turned toward the officer who fired one shot, fatally wounding him."
But an autopsy report obtained by CNN and confirmed by the Orleans parish coroner tells a different story. Ronald Madison's body had seven gunshot wounds, two in the shoulder, five in the back. No shot entered Ronald's body from the front, and no gun was found on his body.
The NOPD wouldn't allow the officers involved in the shooting to speak to CNN, but Chief Riley did.
(on camera): Now, we understand that Ronald Madison was shot in the back, five times.
RILEY: Yes, those are things I can't comment on and no one can comment on until the investigation is concluded and until the district attorney's office reviews that investigation.
GRIFFIN: I mean, I'm looking for some kind of answers. What is taking so long?
RILEY: What has taken so long? A thorough investigation. A very thorough investigation.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Neither Ronald, nor Lance have a criminal record. At Lance's preliminary hearing the judge doubted Lance could have shot at the officers saying, quote, "I don't think you're one of the shooters. I could be wrong, but I've been doing this for 32 years, and I think I have a gut reaction on this."
(on camera): Lance Madison is now in legal limbo, waiting to see if he will be prosecuted and waiting to see if anyone will be held responsible for his brother's death.
MADISON: He always looked up to me to be there for him and help him out. GRIFFIN: You miss your brother?
MADISON: Miss him a whole lot. Can't sleep at night. I wake up in the morning thinking about him.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Coming up, will the families of Ronald Madison and Danny Brumfield finally get answers?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will not be any type of cover-up of any sort.
GRIFFIN: The morning after Danny Brumfield was shot and killed by police, his daughter, Shantan, heard buses had finally arrived to take them from the hell of the Convention Center.
S. BRUMFIELD: I didn't want to leave. I told them I have to take my children and I was going to stay with his body because I didn't want it to just disappear.
GRIFFIN: Shantan wrote Danny's name and her mom's phone number on duct tape and wrapped it around his wrist.
D. BRUMFIELD: Danny was my friend, my husband.
GRIFFIN: Almost a year later, Danny's wife, Deborah, has filed a wrongful death suit against the New Orleans Police Department.
D. BRUMFIELD: We were supposed to grow old together. But this was the end of the line for him.
GRIFFIN: The NOPD says it is still investigating whether Officer Ronald Mitchell was justified in shooting Danny Brumfield.
RILEY: I don't think it's been ruled a justifiable shooting as of yet, but it's still ongoing.
GRIFFIN: Danny's daughter, Shantan, says she's too scared to move back to New Orleans.
S. BRUMFIELD: I just can't live, knowing that we have people on our police force that are just click out and shoot people for no reason. If they did it once, maybe they'll do it again.
GRIFFIN: Lance Madison spent 25 days in prison, after police shot and killed his brother, Ronald.
MADISON: I was upset and mad all the time because my little brother, he just got killed. I'm in here for nothing. You know, we never did anything wrong. GRIFFIN: Nearly a year later the district attorney's office has finally assigned the case to a grand jury, investigating whether New Orleans police officers shot and killed Ronald Madison, an unarmed mentally retarded man, without cause, or whether his brother, Lance, shot at them first. Lance's siblings are considering a wrongful death suit against the NOPD.
LORNA HUMPHREY, LANCE AND DONALD MADISON'S SISTER: I've lost a sibling. You know, Ronald was a sweet, innocent child, and taking his life hurts.
ROMELL MADISON, LANCE AND RONALD MADISON'S BROTHER: We were just working to have our brother's name cleared. If we could see justice served, we'd feel better.
GRIFFIN: To this day, the Seventh District officers who were involved in the shootings on the Danziger Bridge remain on the force.
BARDY: All working every day and are reassigned to the streets.
GRIFFIN (on camera): And that, you're telling me, is an endorsement of this police department that they acted properly?
RILEY: We'll find out what happens.
GRIFFIN: But Chief Warren Riley is not so sure.
RILEY: There will not be any type of cover-up of any sort.
GRIFFIN (on camera): No excuses?
RILEY: No excuses, not when you're talking about taking someone's life. It has to be justifiable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My brothers were there to be protected and served. Instead, they were hunted like animals.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): In the weeks after Katrina, the First District, like much of the city, seemed abandoned.
FAYARD: Surreal. It's like watching a movie. I keep waiting for the zombies to step out.
GRIFFIN: But by this spring, the criminals were moving in. The murdering was already nine times the national average. Just this June, the governor called in the National Guard to help restore order.
RILEY: There's nothing about New Orleans that's normal right now. You know, for a long time I even was waiting to wake up, waiting for this to end. But the reality is that it won't. What we have to do is learn from this very horrific experience.
GRIFFIN (on camera): The NOPD was supposed to hold the line between order and anarchy, but with no command structure, no tools to do their jobs, it came down to individual cops. Some bad, some good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at these poor people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn't wait for anybody to tell us, we just made the decisions, so we just did what needed to be done.
REDMANN: It seemed like the usual rules had sort of been turned off. And it was scary because you don't know how things are going to go. You don't know how your actions are going to be judged down the road.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, hold your breath.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): In New Orleans' hour of need, the NOPD was both the city's finest, and its worst, a contradiction that reflects the city itself.
SIMPSON: We have everything in our police department, the good, the bad, the ugly. We're all here.
REDMANN: Somebody said something like oh, things like this build character, you know, tough times build character. It doesn't build character, it reveals character.
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