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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Louisiana Civilian Charged in Danziger Bridge Case in New Orleans

WASHINGTON – A two-count bill of information filed today in federal court charges David Ryder of Opelousas, La., with lying to the FBI and with illegally possessing a firearm, announced Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division; Jim Letten, U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana; and David Welker, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI New Orleans Field Office. The charges are in connection with the federal probe into a police-involved shooting that occurred on the Danziger Bridge in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

The Sept. 4, 2005, shooting on the Danziger Bridge left two civilians dead and four others seriously injured. Following the shooting, police arrested Lance Madison, whose brother Ronald had been shot and killed on the bridge, and charged him with shooting at and attempting to kill police officers.

The two-count bill of information filed today alleges that David Ryder, a convicted felon who has never worked as a law enforcement officer, was carrying a gun and wearing a law enforcement tee-shirt on the day of the shooting incident. Count one charges that Ryder lied to the FBI when he claimed that he had chased a group of people through a trailer park near the Danziger Bridge and that one of the people he was chasing had turned and fired a gun at him. Count two charges that Ryder violated federal law by possessing a firearm on Sept. 4, 2005, because he had previously been convicted of a felony.

The defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

This case, which is ongoing, is being investigated by the New Orleans Field Office of the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein and Trial Attorney Forrest Christian of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia K. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana. No further details or information will be made available at this time.

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