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ProPublica: Law and Disorder

After Katrina, New Orleans Police
Shot Frequently and Asked Few Questions

Feds: We’re Investigating Baton Rouge Police, Too

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Refugees from the New Orleans area take shelter at the Red Cross at the River Center on Sept. 2, 2005, in Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Police Department is now under investigation by the Justice Department amid allegations officers "routinely harassed black people, resorted to unnecessary violence and conducted illegal searches in the days after Hurricane Katrina."

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Baton Rouge Police Department's actions in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. The newspaper says Alejandro Miyar, a spokesperson for Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, acknowledged the probe on Thursday.

Word of the federal investigation follows reports in the Advocate detailing allegations that Baton Rouge police "routinely harassed black people, resorted to unnecessary violence and conducted illegal searches in the days after Hurricane Katrina." The stories, based on complaints made by out-of-state police sent to Louisiana to assist local officers, have been challenged by Baton Rouge police officials.

The new probe further expands the Justice Department's workload in the state. Prosecutors are already examining a string of incidents in which New Orleans Police Department officers shot at least 10 civilians during the week after Katrina roared ashore. Two former New Orleans cops recently pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the shooting of six people on the Danziger Bridge on Sept. 4, 2005.

With our partners at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and PBS "Frontline," ProPublica scrutinized the NOPD in "Law & Disorder," a series of stories looking at the shootings of Matthew McDonald, Keenon McCann and Danny Brumfield. Those shootings are among the incidents now being investigated by the Justice Department.

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The Case Files

Case One

Religious Street

There is no police report describing what happened in this photo.

Case Two

Matt McDonald

Why didn’t police tell his family he was killed by an officer?

Case Three

Danny Brumfield

How does a man waving down a police car die from a shotgun blast to his back?

Case Four

Keenon McCann

The gun police said he had was never found.

Case Five

Henry Glover

His skull and ashes were found in the back of an incinerated Chevy.

Case Six

Danziger Bridge

Officers responding to an emergency call opened fire on civilians, injuring four and killing two.

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City Editor
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