Rick left a comment last night that alluded to an incident involving an alleged perpetrator and a Bay Police Officer, which I am told occurred approximately 30 days ago. I contacted Council President Lonnie Falgout for confirmation but he indicated to Slabbed that he was not aware of any incidents involving a Bay PD Officer beating up a perpetrator that was handcuffed to a hospital bed. That said the chatter is coming from places that have been previously very reliable so I can’t ignore the tip.
The lesson I am learning from Sheriff Noodles is to never get uppity with his guys but first:
Another lesson I think that should be clear to all is to avoid Jefferson Parish on Mardi Gras. In Jefferson Parish there is the above while over on the uptown parade route this is how the police kill time between the parades there:
While Normand declined to second-guess Breaux, he said he wasn’t “so sure I would have struck (Becker) with my fist, for fear of breaking my hand.”
“But I’d have definitely kneed him in the groin,” Normand added. “I’d have kneed him in the stomach. I’d have tried to knock his wind out, because he does not have the legal right or authority to grab my officer. That is not what we’re paid for.”
But really happened yesterday at the presser was the Sheriff nabbed a couple gallons of gasoline and started singing Fire Water Burn but seeing is believing in this case folks:
Finally I note the passing of attorney/blogger Tom Freeland of Oxford over the weekend. Tom’s contributions to the online scene here in Mississippi were immense. He was a talented writer whose ongoing work online will be missed.
Last night after the 6pm WWL TeeVee newscast I started getting emails from segments of the local legal community that know the walking lawsuits that are Attorney Danny Abel and his “son” Shane Gates. Now I’ll grant it is not unusual for a practicing lawyer to be associated with lawsuits but Abel practices a curious version of the law indeed and wore many hats, from being Nipun Desai’s staff attorney at the Super 8 Motel to Aaron Broussard’s law partner at the Super 8 Motel on Clearview. Gates, along with Abel business associates Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret often served as Abel’s in-house plaintiffs for his lawsuits but before I get to all that we need more background for you newbies reading this.
Here on Slabbed we know this social/political network as the Goatherders and it was formerly lead by new Dragon Queen Aaron Broussard and the network includes media members like WWL TeeVee morning man Eric Paulsen, who evidently lived with Abel and Gates in Slidell before Katrina. Ironically it was Slabbed coverage of Paulsen’s lawsuit against State Farm that earned Slabbed the first threats of a defamation suit from Broussard and Abel’s business associates in Canada, Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret. Once upon a time Abel and Perret were gay lovers and along with Broussard, Leary and Gates formed life long business associations including advertising what appears to be money laundering /tax evasion services via the Costa Rica Company Cerro Coyote SA, which Aaron Broussard sold shares in to politically connected parish contractors like Carl Eberts dating to the late 1990s. It is through that lens that I and a few area lawyers that know the gang filtered last night’s lawsuit PR pump Gates received from WWL TeeVee as Slabbed will now tell the rest of the story.
As Lockemuptight’s sharp eye caught, the fact that Perlstein’s report omitted the reason Gates was stopped by St Tammany Parish Sheriff’s deputies was evident and thus Perlstein’s story is incomplete. Gates’ lawyer, Magnum J.D.’s partner James Williams, points to the not guilty verdict and the fact Gates closed on his new GTO 20 minutes at a local car dealership before being stopped as proof Gates was not drunk. I say those two facts prove nothing and here is why. The BAC tests were lost and thus could not be presented into evidence. If I were on Gates criminal trial jury I too would have voted to acquit him in record time on charges related to drunk driving without the BAC evidence. Simply put no BAC test, no case unless there was video, which in this case there is not. That said the blood test were drawn at the Heart Hospital by an RN unaffiliated with the tussle. The test was lost leaving only the results for the Louisiana Court of Appeals to mention as a case fact in a decision that benefitted Gates. The Heart Hospital was also sued by Gate’s in this matter. 2.7BAC is very high and it would not take much liquor for a 145 pound guy like Gates to get there.
What makes this interesting is a few months before Gates ended up in dutch with the law, Matt Labash at the Weekly Standard was in New Orleans visiting with his friends Danny Abel and Shane Gates writing eloquently about the visit in late March 2006. Here is a snippet:
I NEVER PASS THROUGH NEW ORLEANS without seeing two of my favorite people: Danny Abel and Shane Gates. They are large-hearted men, generous and true, and both possess a drinking companion’s most desirable trait: They stay until closing time. I met them nearly a decade ago, when profiling Danny’s then law-partner, the late Wendell “The Goat” Gauthier, a legend of the trial bar who sued anything that moved, and probably many things that didn’t.
Folks, turns out that while the nation watched in horror as reports of rampant lawlessness in New Orleans after Katrina filled the media it was the NOPD that was at the heart of the problems. We’ve covered the coverage on this topic and in certain instances supplemented it. Slabbed’s own Ashton O’Dwyer unfortunately lived it in what for him would become a life changing event. Like Robert Davis, Ashton will probably never receive justice.
With that background in place it was natural that I would mention the impending indictments coming in on what is being called the Religious Street beatings. In the days after Katrina on Religious Street the NOPD would kick the teeth down one guy’s throat while beating another to the point where he lost control of his bowels. Unfortunately such stories are far too common in the aftermath of Katrina.
As the core subject topic of this blog involves financial issues and the related legalities our audience here on Slabbed tends to be very well heeled and geographically diverse. I am gratified a fair number of you guys are reading the posts we’re doing on local issues such as the sack of sh!t politicians that run Jefferson Parish among others. One subject that we have not blogged much on but that we are following is the Danziger Bridge Shootings of unarmed Hurricane victims by NOPD in the early days after Katrina. Those interested in learning a bit more can click here for a great account of the events to this point as Judge Sarah Vance accepted the guilty plea of a 3rd officer involved in the cover-up to the crime. Here is a snippet:
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:
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.