Thursday, February 25, 2010

At last - VINDICATION! - Danziger 7's finally going to jail

When I volunteered in New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity in 2006, I got to sit and talk with a lot of Black New Orleanians who said the shooting on the Danziger Bridge had nothing to do with self-defense.  Their take?  The crooked NOPD was "protecting" the people on the predominantly white, other side of the bridge, scared that the poor and predominantly Black folk were coming to take their shit.

I saved this excellent Matt Taibbi piece among the many I continue to save regarding NOLA, because it was real-time descriptive.  And as I re-read my links for this post, I realized he'd referenced, what I think, was the shooting on the Danziger Bridge:
The very moment we'd arrived, news chimed in over the police radios that cops had shot and killed five looters at a bridge somewhere outside town. The news was met with a high cheer ("That's right, motherfuckers!" was one cry), and the whole crowd was buzzed, like a bar after midnight.
Of course, back then - and until today, everybody and their Mama kept saying they were wrong.  Then, lo and behold!  We hear this:  Former police officer pleads guilty to Danziger Bridge shooting cover-up of stunning breadth.

My Grandmama always said, "Whatever you do in the dark, WILL come to light."  I can't tell you how many times that one little sentence has kept me going.  Today is certainly one of them (She ALSO said, "A guilty conscience needs no accusin'" - but I'm still a little shaky on that one always coming true - despite today's developments.)

Here are a few interesting post-Katrina videos regarding the Danziger Bridge shootings:

Posted January 1, 2007:

This video posted January 3, 2007:

CNN's Sean Callebs exclaimed in the intro:
"But the WAY they turned themselves in really speaks volumes about the way the case is playing out here in New Orleans." (emphasis his)

"As the seven people made their way to the sheriff's office, they were greeted by cheers, applause and chants of NOPD."
It sure does speak volumes, Sean - but not in the way you implied.  The December 5th video below provides a decidedly non-white and rather clear-eyed view of what all that cheering was really about.  And wonder of wonders!  It, and the truths it contains, were out there at least a month before your - "report."  Truth be toldthose "truths" were out there much longer - but nobody listened.  Guess it never occurred to you there was a REASON you couldn't get a comment from an NOPD officer huh, Sean?  But I gotta give it to you, Officer Billy Mims (from that other uh-uh unit) spouting the Blue Line meme was a pretty good foil though.

Oh!  And that statement from attorney, Frank DeSalvo about publicity pimp extraordinaire, the Right Rev. Al Sharpton?
"Four of the officers were Black, Rev. Sharpton either can't count or he can't see."
I'll just repeat what I said in my last post on Tiger Woods - "White Americans, and those,"I've-arrived-cuz-I-think-like-them" others - REALLY need to get a grip.  Just because you're Black doesn't mean you do not participate in the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy (DeSalvo, listen to some bell hooks why don't you??).  The reverend, also a card-carrying member, was dead-right on this one.  I just think he let go of it because he felt he couldn't get enough media play with that little "four-Black-officers-wrinkle" - not without exposing his WSCP membership, that is.

Posted December 5, 2007

This piece by Laura Maggi of The Times-Picayune ran on August 13, 2008:  Charges rejected against Danziger 7.  The last paragraph is particularly interesting given todays developments:
Madison said U.S. Attorney Jim Letten has said his office doesn't want to take up the case. Letten on Wednesday said his staff continues to monitor the case, along with the Justice Department's civil rights division, but had declined to step into a matter being handled by the Orleans Parish district attorney's office. (emphasis mine)
ProPublica has had an ongoing and exhaustive series of investigative reports about police misconduct in New Orleans post-Katrina.  To get an understanding of why the Feds were finally forced to investigate, please peruse - "Law & Disorder" After Katrina, New Orleans Police Shot Frequently and Asked Few Questions, paying particular attention to the case in the news today - Case Six:  Danziger Bridge.

And sorry Obots, no props to the Changeling or Holder on this one.  However if it turns out they deserve the props, you can bet - in the interest of honesty and fair play - I will give it.  But according to this August 11, 2009 piece - FBI Investigates New Orleans Police For Katrina Killings - the FBI investigation began before they even took their seats: 
Last September, federal officials announced plans to investigate the officers involved in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger Bridge that killed two men and injured four. A state court judge has thrown out murder and attempted murder charges against seven current and former officers, but the FBI is investigating if civil rights were violated.  (emphasis mine)
If my calculations are correct, that'd put the opening of the investigation somewhere around September of 2008.

Now what I will say is - there is a possibility that the "fear" of what a society-identified Black, Obama Administration might do (or find) could have hastened the FBI's decision.  But so what?  Until you give me some concrete, Holder-fingerprinted evidence that it was he, who actually caused this investigation to go forth - keep holding your beath.

Instead, I prefer to attribute today's developments to what REAL journalism can do. Hat's off - and my own lowly Pulitzer Prize nomination for Investigative Reporting (if I had one) goes to:

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reporters, Laura Maggi and Brendan McCarthy along with their City Editor, Gordon Russell along with ProPublica , reporter A.C. Thompson and Frontline Producer, Tom Jennings.

Sean Callebs and CNN are you paying attention?


ea said...

It sounds strange to say that this is good news. Such is the state of the world.

I wonder if something if happening with planetary alignment. The police misconduct trial finally started this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for attacks on citizens during peaceful protests against the impending invasion of Iraq in 2003! Nearly seven years to come to trial--the mayor and police chief and public safety director at the time are no longer in office. BTW, I was one of the hundreds of people sprayed and gassed that day.

Deb said...

¡Hola mujer! ¿Dónde usted ha estado?

I know right? There really is no such thing as a speedy trial in this country - they just feed us that lie and I, for one, used to believe them. Now I know, it's merely time for the accused to get their stories straight - and twist yours or, like in NOLA, when somebody finally decides to listen - scramble like hell to save their own individual asses! This guy was on the force for 21 years! I've no doubt he made a deal with the FBI to save his pension.

And you know what I found strange (don't know why)? I barely heard anything about these killings (but plenty made up shit about looters and raping and shit in the Dome), NOR his "confession" in the MSM. They shot these unarmed people in the back! But the stories about the Army Corps of Engineers and the levees failing? Well, that's been ongoing. Don't get me wrong, they're both important stories, but shooting folk in the back and then covering it up - not so much. :smdh:

So, is it a class action? Even though the three are no longer officials, they're still in NM aren't they? They still have to, at least, answer the charges and offer some kind of defense don't they?

ea said...

I do not think it is a class action suit--not sure. There are ¿11? or ¿15? individual plaintiffs. I think the cases were bundled (don't remember the legal term for it). I lost track of the process when I left the country and was surprised to read in the news that the trial started. I think the three officials are all still in New Mexico--the mayor was just defeated in his re-election bid late autumn. The city itself is being sued, so there will be a defense. I have most of next week relatively free, so I plan to attend some of the trial. It is estimated to run three weeks.

I hope you are well.

Deb said...

I'm no legal eagle, but 11-15 could be a class action I think. Should be an interesting trial - unless the city decides to settle.

¡Hermana, dígame que usted no estaba en el otro lado de la frontera cuando mataron a esos muchachos en Juarez en la fiesta de cumpleaños!

ea said...

Este fin de semana yo estuve in los EEUU. En noviembre, se mataron dos muchachas de la colonia donde voy la semana antes mi visita. Durante ¿enero? hubo un ataque que se dejó a las 15 muertes. Ocurrió la semana después mi visita si recuerdo bien--pero estuvo el ataque en la ciudad. Regreso la semana que viene. Trato evitar la ciudad y cruzar la frontera en el desierto.

Deb said...

Sí era durante enero.

"Regreso la semana que viene. Trato evitar la ciudad y cruzar la frontera en el desierto."

¡Bien, pero POR FAVOR - tenga cuidado!

Anonymous said...

first of all,that's a all black neighborhood on both sides of the rich white folks no where in that area at all.
so, that's not why they did the shooting.
do your research!
second of all, yoou have had to be there to make an assumption of anything that day or that 4-5 months.

Deb said...

Anon...First of all, did you even read the first paragraph in which I said:

"I got to sit and talk with a lot of Black New Orleanians who said the shooting on the Danziger Bridge had nothing to do with self-defense." - and listen now, because this is the important part - "Their take? The crooked NOPD was "protecting" the people on the predominantly white, other side of the bridge, scared that the poor and predominantly Black folk were coming to take their shit."?

So, what do you suggest I research? A conversation I had, that I related? Would that make any of the unarmed, shot-in-the-back, arm-damn-near-blown-off, Black folk less dead or injured?

By all means, do tell me why they did the shooting - as if any of that can be explained with a straight face.

"second of all, yoou have had to be there to make an assumption of anything that day or that 4-5 months."

I made no assumptions. You over-reacted to what I wrote - and rather vehemently I might add.

You ARE right about one thing though - one certainly would've had to have been there on that bridge to know why those, whose job it is to "protect and serve," chose to draw their weapons on unarmed folk, shoot them up, lie about it and frame one of those folks to make it look true.

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