The Danziger Bridge shootings were police shootings that took place on September 4, 2005, at the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans, Louisiana. Six days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, members of the New Orleans Police Department killed two civilians: 17-year-old James Brissette and 40-year-old Ronald Madison. Four other civilians were wounded. All of the victims were African-American. None were armed or had committed any crime. Madison, a mentally disabled man, was shot in the back.
New Orleans police fabricated a cover-up story for their crime, falsely reporting that seven police officers responded to a police dispatch reporting an officer down, and that at least four suspects were firing weapons at the officers upon their arrival. Rev. Raymond Brown, the local head of the National Action Network, described the shootings as "...a racial tragedy."
On August 5, 2011, a federal jury in New Orleans convicted five police officers of myriad charges related to the cover-up and deprivation of civil rights. An attorney for the Justice Department described it as "the most significant police misconduct prosecution [in the U.S.] since the Rodney King beating case". The convictions were vacated on September 17, 2013, however, because of prosecutorial misconduct, and a new trial was ordered. The Justice Department appealed the decision to vacate the convictions, but a federal appeals court agreed that a new trial was warranted. However, on April 20, 2016; the five former officers pleaded guilty to various charges related to the shooting, and in return received reduced sentences ranging from three to 12 years.