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”