Revolution #108, November 11, 2007
Authorities Say: Forcing People Back into Katrina’s Floodwaters Is No Crime
We received the following correspondence from Carl Dix:
September 1, 2005. Tens of thousands of people, most of them Black and poor, trapped in New Orleans, abandoned by the U.S. government. Desperate people wading through chest-high water, trying to get to safety. City authorities announce that people should walk over the Crescent City Bridge because it’s the only safe way out of the city. This bridge crosses the Mississippi River and leads from New Orleans to the mostly white Jefferson Parish and the city of Gretna. Groups of people head to that bridge. Police from Gretna, sheriff’s deputies from Jefferson Parish, and armed vigilantes are there, pointing and firing their weapons, forcing them back into New Orleans, back into Katrina’s floodwaters, and maybe to their deaths.
October 31, 2007. The system gives this CRIME a stamp of approval. The only remaining criminal investigation into the actions of police and vigilantes the night of September 1, 2005, on the Crescent City Bridge came to an end. A New Orleans grand jury decided NOT to indict a Gretna police officer on charges of illegal discharge of a firearm. The Chief of Police of Gretna gloated, “It is certainly a day of vindication for the Gretna Police Department.”
Yet another outrage on top of all the other crimes the government has perpetrated against the masses of people in New Orleans—starting with how people were abandoned, treated like animals at the Superdome, callously evacuated, then—to this day—prevented from moving back to rebuild their homes and lives in New Orleans.
It is outrageous that the courts have declared that it was fine for the police to use the force of arms to protect a mostly white community from Black people who are trying get to safety.
And it is even more outrageous that this case, to begin with, was only about one officer who fired his gun at people trying to cross the bridge into safety. What about the other officers, and the vigilantes who joined in, who carried out these murderous actions? What about the authorities who gave them their orders? Why weren’t all of them being brought up on charges for their criminal wrongdoing?
And what about the government officials, federal, state and local, who left people to die? And who have seized on the destruction caused by Katrina to advance a long-held agenda of driving poor Black people out of the city? Why weren’t they being brought up on charges too for their criminal acts?
This is like investigating an overseer for brutalizing a slave, and exonerating him, while giving the slavemasters and the whole system of slavery a pass.
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