New Orleans

Chaos Among Cops Post-Katrina

New Orleans police shot 10 civilians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, killing four of them, but police officials conducted only cursory investigations of the incidents, reveals a joint reporting effort by The New Orleans Times-Picayune, ProPublica, and PBS's Frontline. Officers were exonerated despite having failed (with their fellow officers) to gather evidence after the shootings, such as bullet casings and weapons, and the names and phone numbers of witnesses weren't taken, nor were statements. In one incident, a detective investigating a fatal shooting didn't bother to read the coroner's report—which revealed the victim had been shot in the back, contradicting the officer's testimony. Weeks after the shootings, investigators often only talked to police involved in the shootings, and some interviews lasted as little as seven minutes. A federal grand jury is looking into the death of a man who died in police custody in 2005: His burnt body was found in a car near a police station. The New Orleans Police Department didn't launch an investigation of the death until it was reported in the press in late 2008.