Thursday, February 25, 2010

Danziger Bridge update

It appears that a New Orleans police lieutenant today plead guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice, arising out of investigations into the Danzinger Bridge incident during Katrina.
Lohman, who pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to obstruct justice, admits he failed to order the collection of evidence or canvassing of witnesses, helped craft police reports riddled with false information, participated in a plan to plant a gun under the bridge and lied to investigators who questioned police actions.
It's hard to know exactly what happened that day. New Orleans had been destroyed by the flooding after Hurricane Katrina. Police officers had been dispatched to the Danziger bridge on reports that people on the bridge were shooting at rescue helicopters. The officers got to the bridge, heard gunfire and started shooting across the bridge. When the firing stopped, two citizens were dead and four others were seriously wounded. Police officers learned that the people shot were unarmed.

Then the police lied about it. More than one cop lied about it.

As a 29 year police veteran, it makes me sick. First of all, that police officers would harm people trying to escape a tragedy. But most of all that the cops lied about it.

It's hard enough to conduct an investigation into a fatality. Eyewitness reports are notoriously unreliable, but many times that's all we have to go on. It's the job of the lead investigator to separate the good information from the bad information and present that information to his superiors and the Courts. It's doubly hard when you start doubting the reports of officers on the scene. It's triply hard when the police officers conspire to change the story.

I guess I had good trainers, because I learned early in my career that official reports are painfully truthful. If you screw up, you report the screw-up and you take your lumps. That's not to say I've had a perfect career. I've reported my own screw-ups and I've taken my lumps. In the long run, it's easier like that.

The New Orleans Police Department has a history of corruption and lying in an official report is just one aspect of that corruption. Today, the Courts began the search for justice that should have begun as soon as the firing stopped. It's a damned shame that it's been this long.

Hat tip to Xavier for the heads-up.


Old NFO said...

Sad, but at least NOW a little truth is coming out...

Anonymous said...

Given that the NOLA PD is institutionally corrupt, as is City Hall, and apparently the Court System, whatever they come up with is worthless.

How can the city of NOLA ever be trusted again? Short of firing every police officer on the force and recalling every elected official in office during the Katrina debacle, and trying them all for malfeasance and misfeasance in office, I can foresee only more whitewashing and coverup. As Nagel was re-elected afterward, NOLA has exactly the corrupt government they want and deserve. Rescind every cent of Federal money, and let the entire pesthole rot.

Gerry N.

Pawpaw said...

New Orleans lost a lot after Katrina and what little they've regained is only a vague shadow of what was once a wonderful city.

They don't even have a decent casino. The whole city has become a clip joint.