Friday, November 19, 2010

New Orleans Police Laugh after the Execution and Burning of Henry Glover

On September 2, 2005 Henry Glover and a friend were walking behind a washed out Chuck E. Cheese’s and a strip mall in the Algiers Point section of New Orleans. According to witnesses there was a shout “get out of here!” followed by brief seconds then a shot rang out hitting Henry in the chest.

Henry was shot from a second story balcony by 47 year old New Orleans Police Officer David Warren, but at the time Henry didn’t know that he wouldn’t live to find out who shot him. His friend Bernard Calloway then runs across the street to get help from Henry’s brother Edward King.

Both Bernard and Edward rush back to aide Henry, and Edward spots a man in a 2002 Chevy Malibu rolling down Seine Street. Edward is able to get the man William Tanner’s attention and able to get him to stop and help.

William makes a very fateful decision. He considers taking Henry directly to West Jefferson Medical Center, but decides instead to take Henry to Paul B. Habans Elementary School, which had been taken over and was being used by New Orleans finest as a tactical base. One would think going to the police in search of aide would be a reasonable thought. However, as the Black residents of Katrina surely found out the police were no resource.

"They put guns in our faces," says Tanner. He suspects the police "assumed [Glover] was looting and that's why he got shot. They assumed we were looters, too."
King tells me he frantically tried to get the officers to help Glover: "I was hollering, saying, 'My brother's shot!' They handcuffed us. I said, 'You're not worrying about my brother.' They said some bad words to us and started beating us. They were beating us for 20 minutes." Tanner and King say that they, along with Calloway, were seated on a bench and cuffed while a swarm of officers punched, slapped and berated them. One of the officers bludgeoned Tanner in the face with the butt of an assault rifle, they say. "Every time I'd look up or sit up, they'd beat me," King tells me, noting that about five officers, all of them white, participated in the beating.

Meanwhile, in the back seat of the car, Glover, a father of four, was sliding toward death as blood poured from his wound, according to King and Tanner. Both men insist the officers did nothing to try to save Glover, despite his obvious injury, and both firmly believe that Glover died that day in Tanner's Chevy.

God bless Propublica or the case would have never been known

Numerous – possibly dozens – of other officers were likely present at the site of the alleged beatings. In an interview this week, a SWAT officer told me 50 to 60 cops were camped out at the school at any given time in the days after Katrina. (The officer declined to comment directly on the Glover matter.).

More Publica on the case

Ok, so there is a man in the back of a car bleeding to death, and they allow it to happen. There were 3 other men in the car and they toss them a beating for being Black in a natural disaster. Disgusting enough, but what comes next is the punctuation on this entire nasty episode. Two officers took the mans car and the body parked it next to a levee and set it on fire, and two other senior police officers helped them lie about it.

This week five New Orleans Police officers David Warren, Dwayne Scheuermann, Gregory McRae, Robert Italiano began trial on 11 counts in federal court as it appears Louisiana has no desire to ever prosecute police for the murder of Black people during Katrina.

Lt. Joseph Meisch testified Thursday that he was standing outside a police station near the Mississippi River when he saw a car followed by a pickup truck driving on a levee. McRae was driving the car and Scheuermann was driving the truck, according to prosecutors.
Moments after the car drove off the levee, Meisch saw a plume of thick, black smoke.
Meisch didn't know who was driving the vehicles until McRae and Scheuermann ran toward him. Scheuermann had a blank look on his face, but McRae was laughing, Meisch said.
"Laughing like somebody had just played a joke?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey Knight asked.
"It could have been humorous or nervous laughter," he said.

Huffpo account of the trial

Henry’s mother went to the Police after her son’s death and asked for an accounting. She got nothing. I suppose I’m still smarting over the fact that George W. Bush considers the greatest pain in his presidency was Kanye West stating he doesn’t care about Black people. I wonder if incidents like this ever hit his radar screen, oh wait I know they didn’t. Henry’s story wasn’t isolated in the days after Katrina when reports of police brutality and murder were treated as urban myth. The truly depressing thing is with stories like that of Oscar Grant, or 15 others I could rattle off since Katrina very little has changed.