Posted: Apr 2, 2010 5:43 AM by Letitia Walker
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A convicted felon was charged Thursday with
lying to the FBI about deadly shootings on a New Orleans bridge in
Hurricane Katrina's aftermath that led to a police cover-up.
David Ryder, 45, of Opelousas, falsely claimed that he was
chasing a group of people near the Danziger Bridge when one of the
people fired a gun at him, according to the court filing.
Police officers shot and killed two people and wounded four
others on the bridge less than a week after the August 2005 storm.
Two former New Orleans police officers have pleaded guilty to
helping cover up police shooting unarmed civilians.
A police report describes Ryder as a St. Landry Parish sheriff's
deputy who was escorting a convoy across the bridge, but federal
prosecutors say he has never been a law-enforcement officer. On the
day of the shootings, he was carrying a gun, wearing a law
enforcement T-shirt and assisting with post-Katrina
search-and-rescue operations, according to the court filing.
Besides lying to the FBI, Ryder also is charged with illegally
possessing a semiautomatic pistol. He had been convicted of a
felony theft charge in Texas in 1993, making it illegal for him to
possess a gun.
Ryder was charged in a bill of information, which can only be
filed with a defendant's consent and typically signals a plea deal.
Ryder wouldn't comment Thursday.
The charges against him are punishable by up to 15 years in
prison and a $500,000 fine.
Ryder is the fourth person charged in a Justice Department probe
of the bridge shootings.
Michael Lohman, a retired lieutenant, and Jeffrey Lehrmann, a
former detective, earlier pleaded guilty to participating in a
cover-up, which included a planted gun, phony witness statements
and falsified police reports.
A former officer, Michael Hunter, was charged Tuesday with
participating in the cover-up and is expected to plead guilty April
7 to conspiracy to obstruct justice and misprision of a felony.
Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, and James
Brissette, 19, were shot and killed by police. Madison's brother,
Lance, was arrested on attempted murder charges that were later
A police report on the shootings says Ryder identified Lance
Madison as one of several shooters who fired at him.
Ryder also told the FBI that one of the people he chased through
a trailer park near the bridge turned and shot at him.
"In fact," the court filing says, "none of the people he was
chasing fired a gun at him; he never saw any of the people with a
gun; and he never saw any of the people motion as if he or she had