Present and former officers of the New Orleans police department are speaking out about the anarchic days following Hurricane Katrina. Some are saying they were told and led to believe that ‘shooting looters’ was OK, by their superior officers.
In an article recently published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, some officers claim that there was an unwritten order among the department that they had the authority to ‘shoot looters in order to take back the city.’
In mix of hear say and the truth many officers say they were confused as to how much force they were allowed to use in these unprecedented situations. Some credit to the ‘order’ is do to a statement made by one officer during a morning role call.
A video shot shortly after Katrina shows Captain James Scott telling a group of officers,
“We have the authority by martial law to shoot all looters.”
Scott’s address, which he claims was taken out of context, came during a time of city wide confusion over whether authorities had implemented martial law.
According to police records, no officers implicated in shootings have used the supposed ‘order to shoot looters’ as an explanation for their actions. Only one person shot by police was allegedly stealing goods at the time he was shot.