Journalist A.C. Thompson has uncovered troubling evidence of militia killings in New Orleans’ overwhelmingly white Algiers Point neighborhood during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as well as a three-year stonewall of official silence since then, during which no investigations were undertaken into eleven shootings there. The message Thompson found was clear: the New Orleans Police Department wasn't—and isn’t— prepared to hold residents of that community responsible for violence during the period, because it views all actions taken to “protect” their neighborhood to have been presumptively justified.
Even members of the armed band of 15-30 Algiers Point residents who shot African American men for daring to walk from the flooded areas of the city into their neighborhood are surprised that only journalist Thompson has been asking questions about the killings. One of the militia group expected more scrutiny himself by police, telling Thompson, "Aside from you, no one's come around asking questions about this." "I'm surprised," he continued, "If that was my son, I'd want to know who shot him."
Thompson’s lengthy piece, Katrina's Hidden Race War, appears in the December 17 issue of the Nation Magazine. It should be followed up on by the incoming Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. If there will be no official local investigation of these apparent homicides, many of which seem to have been committed without the slightest provocation, except for the appearance of a black face in a frightened white community, it is the obligation of federal officials to step in.
(For more information on the Algiers Point killings, see Thompson’s Nation article, journalist Rebecca Solnit’s blog post at TomDispatch.com, an audio interview with Solnit at TomDispatch’s media site, Amy Goodman’s 2005 interview with resident Malik Rahim, the documentary, “Welcome to New Orleans,” and an interview with militia shooting victim Donnell Herrington in Sam Pollard and Spike Lee’s, HBO documentary, “When the Levees Broke.”)