Fake deputy sentenced for lies about New Orleans police shooting
Marion David Ryder was one of the hundreds of volunteers who rushed to the drowned city of New Orleans to lend a hand after Hurricane Katrina.
He ended up sowing confusion and corruption in a city that certainly didn't need any more of it.
Ryder, 46, of Opelousas, La., went to New Orleans to help with search-and-rescue missions, posing as a sheriff's deputy from his home parish, the Associated Press reports.
He ended up on the Danziger Bridge on Sept. 4, 2005, six days after the hurricane, when New Orleans police, responding to a call of an officer down, stormed the bridge and opened fire, killing two unarmed civilians and wounding four.
Ryder, a convicted felon, told the FBI that one of the other civilians on the bridge, Lance Madison, shot at him. It was not so.
Last month, five New Orleans police officers were convicted of civil rights violations related to the shootings and an attempted cover-up.
On Wednesday, the AP reports, Ryder was sentenced to eight months in prison and eight months of home confinement after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators and illegal weapon possession. He faced a maximum sentence of 15 years.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Ryder's attorney said he suffers from bipolar disorder.
Madison, the man Ryan falsely accused, had been booked on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer, and was jailed for weeks.
After the sentencing, the Picayune reports, Ryder hugged Madison and began crying.
"I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart," Ryder said.
--Richard Fausset in Atlanta
Photo: Jurors in the trial of New Orleans police officers walk the Danziger Bridge in July to get a first-hand look at the spot where two people were fatally shot and four others wounded less than a week after Hurricane Katrina. Credit: Associated Press / The Times-Picayune, Michael DeMocker