Friday, July 30, 2010

On which side of the law are the New Orleans cops?

By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


With all the charges and convictions involving assaults and murders committed or allegedly committed by police in New Orleans, one might wonder who the real criminals are in the Big Easy.

Earlier this month, six NOLA cops were charged in connection with the shootings of people on the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina.

Three days ago three more current or former NOLA police officers were charged with covering up the shootings of unarmed civilians on the bridge. Five former New Orleans police officers have plead guilty of similar charges. Three other officers, also charged, have pleaded not guilty.

Cops pointed guns at a Times-Picaynue photographer after Katrina as well, after he stumbled upon two guys lying motionless on the pavement - some 20 cops standing over their bodies.

Now the feds say that two more NOLA police officers have been charged in a three-count indictment in the beating death of a man back in 2005.

This is the same police department that suffered embarrassment and ridicule when so many officers abandoned their posts during Katrina.

As in any other police department, these officers took an oath to serve and protect. Protect. Not kill.

It's obvious that this is an endemic problem. Too many cops feel - or until now have felt - that they can abuse the citizens they are paid to protect - with impunity. There's an obvious culture of cover-up here too. Officers who don't participate in these crimes are expected to - and apparently do - lie about what they know to keep the perpetrators in blue out of hot water.

The recent indictments and guilty charges show that - thankfully - there are those in law enforcement who are working to take away the certainty that these criminal cops will avoid prosecution. But the bigger question is - who is really responsible for making it possible for police officers to feel comfortable stepping outside the law - killing people - and covering it up?

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