Truth's Flashlight

Law & Disorder

PBS Frontline Transcript

A.C. Thompson

Thomas Jennings & Seth Bomse

Thomas Jennings

ANNOUNCER: Tonight on FRONTLINE, an exclusive investigation. In the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina-

MARY HOWELL, Attorney: People were shot and killed by the New Orleans Police Department.

ANNOUNCER: -11 civilians were shot by New Orleans police officers-

KATHLEEN BABINEAUX BLANCO, Governor of Louisiana, 2004-08: [Sept. 1, 2005] Looting and other lawlessness will not be tolerated.

ANNOUNCER: -as rumors circulated about a declaration of martial law.

RAY NAGIN, Mayor of New Orleans: I’ve already called for martial law in the city of New Orleans.

WARREN RILEY, NOPD Deputy Chief, 2002-05: I heard rumors that martial law was in place, and then I heard rumors that, no, it was not.

KATHLEEN BABINEAUX BLANCO: I never declared martial law.

ANNOUNCER: Did the police believe they could suspend their own rules?

KEVIN DIEL, Former NOPD Officer: Does he expect us to, rank and file, go through the streets, you know, shooting looters?

ANNOUNCER: New evidence shows that an order was given authorizing officers to shoot looters.

LEONARD MOORE, Historian: One of the most troubled police departments in the history of North America, the NOPD reverts back to what the existing culture has always been.

A.C. THOMPSON, ProPublica: That’s the guy?

EDWARD KING, Brother of Henry Glover: That’s the one that beat me.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight, the story of one of those killings-

A.C. THOMPSON: What happened here wound up setting this chain of events in motion that has turned the New Orleans Police Department upside-down.

ANNOUNCER: -and questions about a cover-up.

KEVIN WHALEY, M.D., Forensic Pathologist: Bodies just don’t burn up like that.

ISTVAN BALOGH, Private Security Consultant: The way it was destroyed was telling a story. This was a premeditated homicide.

ANNOUNCER: ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson, The Times-Picayune and FRONTLINE investigate Law & Disorder in New Orleans.

NARRATOR: These are the pictures we all remember, the storm of a century, the flooding that submerged a city, the dispossessed and the chaos.

ISTVAN BALOGH, Private Security Consultant: [home video] Is it running right now? Yeah, it’s running.

NARRATOR: But some images from Katrina were never seen at all. This video was taken by this man, Istvan Balogh, a former law enforcement officer who had come from out of state to assist after the storm.

ISTVAN BALOGH: [home video] I mean, can you believe this? This is the 9th of September.

We were on a routine foot patrol. I’m looking down towards the riverbank, just to see, you know, if I see anything unusual, and I observed a white vehicle.

[home video] We found this completely burnt-out vehicle.

I yelled up to my partner, I go, “You won’t believe what’s in here.”

[home video] There’s a dead body. There’s a- looks like a femur right here.

I observed the skull.

[home video] And from here, you can- there’s a skull.

I observed what looked like a bullet wound.

[home video] It looks like it was shot from the side.

There’s no question in my mind this is a pre-meditated homicide.

[home video] Absolutely amazing.

This body is disintegrated. I mean, that was a hot fire.

[home video] This is the whole body right here.

The magnitude of the way it was destroyed, it was telling a story- “I don’t want no one ever to find out what I did.”

NARRATOR: It was two years after Balogh’s discovery when a reporter first came across the story of the burnt remains. ProPublica’s A.C. Thompson, then a freelance crime reporter, had come to New Orleans to investigate suspicious deaths in the wake of Katrina. With the support of the Nation Institute, he’d sued to see the public records.

A.C. THOMPSON, ProPublica: I’d gotten ahold of over 800 autopsies of people who had died in the days after the storm. Most Katrina victims had drowned, but one autopsy report described a badly burned body. And there was something else that I found odd. There was no cause of death. The line where “homicide” or “accident” could have been written was blank.

The other information the autopsy told me was that the remains belonged to a 31-year-old man named Henry Glover. I found out that Glover had lived in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, on the west bank of the Mississippi. He had stayed in the city through Katrina, along with his mother, brother and sister. The last time his sister saw Henry was September 2nd, four days after the storm.

PATRICE GLOVER, Sister of Henry Glover: September 2nd, we was at home. My brother and another friend said that they was going out to get some help, and you know, get some water and some food and stuff and- and he never made it back.

A.C. THOMPSON: Henry had come here to this strip mall with his friend, Bernard. His brother, Edward, was nearby at his own home that morning.

EDWARD KING, Brother of Henry Glover: I was home feeding my family, and I can hear somebody hollering from a distance. My nickname is Dirty Red- “Dirty! Dirty! Somebody shot your brother!” I said, “Hold up. Hold up. You sure it’s Henry?” He said, “Yeah.” So he run- I run out the house to where he was at.

A.C. THOMPSON: Both Edward and Patrice ran to find Henry here, about 50 yards down the street from the strip mall. He was bleeding from the chest.

PATRICE GLOVER: I saw my brother laying down there, and he was on his stomach! And I said, “Brother, hold on. I’ll get you some help.”

A.C. THOMPSON: That’s when Edward flagged down a passing car. The stranger slowed, then stopped. His name is Will Tanner.

WILL TANNER, Neighbor of Henry Glover: Henry Glover was in the middle of the street, and his brother Edward was standing over him and he’s talking about how he needed medical attention for his brother. So I got out of the car, touched his neck and see he had- still had a pulse.

EDWARD KING: Tanner reaching down, feeling, saying, “He have a pulse. He have a pulse.” So I grabbed him and we fell back into the car, like this. My mission is to get him to the hospital or somebody who can help him.

A.C. THOMPSON: But Will Tanner thought the hospital was too far. He didn’t think Glover would make it. Instead Tanner drove a mile to Habans Elementary School.

WILL TANNER: I knew at Habans School, had medical attention. Police was camped out there.

A.C. THOMPSON: In the days after Katrina, the NOPD SWAT team had turned this school into an armed encampment.

SWAT OFFICER: Can I have everybody’s attention? I’m going to go ahead and do the mission briefing for the night.

A.C. THOMPSON: These scenes were filmed for a FRONTLINE program called The Storm.

SWAT OFFICER: For tonight, our mission is to proactively patrol the 4th district.

A.C. THOMPSON: It’s here that members of this unit would gather for their daily orders, often assigned to go on looter patrol.

SWAT OFFICER: Our purpose for this patrol tonight is going to be to deter crime and looting patrol, all right? Anything out of the ordinary, go ahead and challenge it.

EDWARD KING: When we got there, I thought that they was going to help us. But the first thing they did was put us in handcuffs. And I’m, “Why? We’re coming for help.”

So I made the statement, “Because you all”- I said, “You all not helping my brother. Whoever killed him, I’m going to kill them,” out of anger, you know, for my brother. I’m seeing my brother in that- you know, in that way. So that’s what I said and that’s when the beating came.

And they beat me. They beat me. I ain’t never been beat like that in my life. When he first hit me, I faked like I was knocked out. So he said, “Get up! Get up, you piece of shit!” So he grabbed me right here and he- his fingers almost touched. I like to blacked out, and he let me go just in time.

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