During the turbulent days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, New Orleans police shot 10 civilians, at least four of whom died, according to interviews and internal police documents.
Some incidents involving police were widely publicized and have prompted a U.S. Justice Department inquiry into the conduct of the New Orleans Police Department that has brought dozens of officers before federal grand juries to testify.
But a fresh examination of the post-storm period — a joint effort by ProPublica, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, and PBS “Frontline” — raises additional questions about the actions of police who shot civilians. It also reveals deep flaws in the department’s efforts to investigate its officers’ use of deadly force in the chaos after the storm.
Any time an officer squeezes the trigger, a few issues immediately arise: Was the shooting justifiable, a situation that left the cop with no choice but to use lethal force? Or did the officer fire on someone who didn’t truly pose a threat?