Law and Disorder in the City. More horror stories emerge from post Katrina New Orleans

Before I tackle the subject of post Katrina police shootings in New Orleans I’ll publically disclose the man whom I knew as my grandfather (actually step granddad) growing up in Waveland was retired NOPD. He was admired widely for years after he left the force by the other officers but not for any particular acts of bravery or heroism. Rather the adulation derived from keeping his mouth shut after he was indicted by the feds who were investigating mafia corruption in New Orleans circa 1950’s and 60’s. The story goes Carlos paid off the jury and the rest is history when he was acquitted. In all the stories granddad told me of his life as a police officer/mafia bagman never once did the term justice ever enter into the conversation. It simply was not in the culture of the NOPD. As such seeing the southern version of The Shield play out in the news through the years not much surprised me including the spectacular case of Len Davis. Ironically Davis’ murder trial was held before Judge Ginger Barrigan, a jurist known on Slabbed for her favorable disposition towards murderers and insurance companies. It is through that prism that I read today’s Times Picayune and saw their series on police shootings in New Orleans after Katrina.

Before we get to the article those readers not from the New Orleans area need to do one thing. Forget the “news” as it was reported at the time. The most sensational stories such as groups of tethered bodies floating about were actually myths. Yes there was lawlessness and looting as is typical after natural disaster but it was nothing like you heard on the news.

The reality is found in variations of a recurring theme that has been well chronicled such as in the book The Great New Orleans Gun Grab which featured Ashton O’Dwyer’s story, one that we highlighted last summer here on Slabbed. Gun Grab highlights the abuse of second amendment rights by NOPD after Katrina telling the tales of citizens who stayed to protect their property after the storm such as Larry Hirst, whose wife provided my favorite quote in the book as she addressed the authorities who were harassing her law-abiding husband:

“…between you and the looters” she said, I’ll take the looters. At least they act like we expect them to.” Continue reading “Law and Disorder in the City. More horror stories emerge from post Katrina New Orleans”

Slabbed kisses the Blarney Stone and tells the story of Katrina’s Nutty Irishman

This is the hardest post I’ve ever authored due to the subject matter of controversial lawyer and occasional Slabbed commenter Ashton O’Dwyer and his Katrina experience which is frankly incredible. Like Bellesouth before him Ashton has been judged harshly by the blogosphere. Unlike Belle, Ashton has brought a good bit cyber-ire on himself through the use of racially charged words to describe people of color such as US Judge Ivan  Lemelle.

I’ve found that those not from the heart of the GO Zone (for the most part) do not completely appreciate the mental trauma inflicted by the sudden changes brought by Katrina. Everyone was impacted, including those that grew up and moved away as the familar was lost forever and the connection to the community completely shattered by the upheaval. In my own circle of friends including those from my childhood I’ve found the ability to cope with these stresses varied greatly and depended on a number of circumstances. And a few, like Wilford Asher of Waveland simply snapped.

And it is with that perspective that we need to backtrack in time to September 2005 when Ashton O’Dwyer’s loss was compounded and then some. Before I link the legal docs let’s visit with James Gill at the Times Picayune who wrote about this a few months back:

O’Dwyer blamed his maltreatment — as he does many of his woes — on a conspiracy of powerful public officials. This time, however, it did not require an overheated imagination to conclude that he had been singled out for some rough justice.

And it was pretty rough. O’Dwyer was sitting in his driveway around midnight shortly after Katrina drinking a glass of wine, when the cops materialized. He was, even by his own account, somewhat provocative and was hauled off to the temporary hoosegow at the Union Passenger Terminal.

There he was locked in a metal cage and repeatedly pepper sprayed and shot with beanbag rounds. Released after 16 hours, he was never charged with a crime. Photographs of his wounds support his brutality claims. Continue reading “Slabbed kisses the Blarney Stone and tells the story of Katrina’s Nutty Irishman”