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State Left New Orleans Police To Fend For Themselves

In a bit of information that I could not verify, but was linked by Chris Regan at JunkYardBlog, this Behind the News article by former reporter Jon Christian Ryter indicates that Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco abandoned the NOPD.

Blanco's advisers told her that the remaining 7,000 National Guard troops left in Louisiana were not enough to secure the city of New Orleans, and that it was not in her best political interest to use them until they could be reinforced since they might get hurt, or worse, hurt or kill a civilian they were charged with protecting. Instead, she let Nagin's 1,500 New Orleans cops fend for themselves in a city that had been tacitly surrendered to looters and thugs.
Not only were the police undermanned, they were deaf... From an overlooked Federal Computer Week article:
Operation of the New Orleans police radio system in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has been plagued not only by floodwaters but by a lack of natural gas to power generators.

Not only that, Louisiana State Police turned away repair technicians when they attempted to reach the city, according to an on-scene report the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International relayed to Federal Computer Week.

...Radio repair technicians attempting to enter the city were turned away by the state police, even though they had letters from the city police authorizing their access, [Dominic] Tusa said.

State officials were not only not part of the solution, they were a huge part of the problem...


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Comments (18)

Unbelievable. The stories o... (Below threshold)

Unbelievable. The stories out of NO become more ludicrous with each passing day. When you consider all this, it's no wonder a third of the force walked off the job.

I'm not saying it's right, but I can only imagine the despair they felt as it became obvious to them that they were completely on their own.

As for Blanco, she is looking more like an incompetent hack with each passing hour. Concern about the National Guard possibly killing a civilian when said civilians were wantonly turning New Orleans into the set of "Escape From New York" demonstrates a childlike inability to comprehend the gravity of the situation on her part.

If this pans out to be a tr... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

If this pans out to be a true series of events, then I'll temper my previous responses (well, except for the looting).

This scenario would be an impossible situation where badged officials might as well have been wearing white shirts with concentric red circles. Hoodlums could (and did) snipe opportunistically without fear of tangible response.

This borders on criminal negligence, doesn't it? Knowingly abandoning unarmed citizens and the minimally armed, strained officials assigned to protect them... are you kidding me?! Is there a lawyer in the parrish? Nevermind. How does one rightfully collect from a soon to be temporarily bankrupt state?

Oh the stench of it all.

I remember one of th... (Below threshold)
jc:


I remember one of the National Guard spokespeople or an official or something saying that they waited because they wanted "overwhelming force" before they moved in, so that there wouldn't be a gunfight that lasted for very long and would endanger civilians.

Instead, civilians died from dehydration.

"Overwhelming force" is a phrase I hear all too often from military folks who should know better. Don't they teach B.H. Liddell Hart's Strategy any more? "Overwhelming force" is the product of linear thinking. Rumsfeld or General Meyers would have known better.

Louisiana politics, even si... (Below threshold)

Louisiana politics, even since the days long before the likes of former Gov. Edwin Edwards, have been like nothing else. Sadly, such politics also have consequences. Keep the food and the music, but boot the screwballs.

I ain't gonna say what I fe... (Below threshold)

I ain't gonna say what I feel, lest I find myself cuffed to a state trooper. I will point out that Blanco's previous response to anything going wrong was to form a committe to look into it. Hell, her first weekend in office, one of the local talk radio guys had dubbed her Kathleen "Committe" Blanco.

Let me get this straight. ... (Below threshold)
Evon:

Let me get this straight. The worst natural disaster to hit the US, ever, was in a state with a totally incompetent governor. I saw her standing next to Bush during his visit. At least we know she had time to visit her hairdresser. The people she abandoned were the NO voters who had put her into office.

This is terrible. Another p... (Below threshold)

This is terrible. Another policeman committed suicide. They are overworked and they need all the help that they can get.

It seems crass to mention p... (Below threshold)
John S.:

It seems crass to mention politics, but Democrats still trying to blame Bush may want to change the subject. They will probably regret their rabid attacks of last week.

jc:"Instead, civil... (Below threshold)
cirby:

jc:

"Instead, civilians died from dehydration."

Really? How many? The reports we were watching live from the Superdome seemed to indicate that number as zero. Considering that the first people sent out on Thursday (yes, Thursday) were the ones in worst shape, you have a lot to explain.

How many would have died if they're tried the "bring in a little at a time" method you seem to prefer? We saw a near-riot when one helicopter tried to deliver stuff by air.

Cirby multiple people have ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Cirby multiple people have died from dehydration... AND THEY STILL ARE

As you debate it in the abstract, some people are STILL trapped and dying. I got a report from a local businessman [I've known for years] who is using his own equipment to rescue people in his neighborhood because the "officials" are only trying to rescue the people who make it to television. .

[email protected] AnonymousD... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ AnonymousDrivel

"This borders on criminal negligence, doesn't it? Knowingly abandoning unarmed citizens"

As crazy as this sounds: Police aren't required by law to protect you. You are required by law to protect the police.

There's a lot of examples out there of this. If you see a cop struggling with a perp and you stand and watch or walk away, you're eligible for a personal tour of the criminal justice system. If a cop sees you struggling with a perp and does nothing, then that's ok.

Sounds crazy?

LA riots anybody? When the LAPD unilaterally "withdrew" from the city? I still remember the video clips of Korean store owners standing on their roofs shooting people.

Hmmmm,Running poli... (Below threshold)

Hmmmm,

Running police communications systems on backup systems powered by HUH??? NATURAL GAS??? WTF?

What MORON thought that was a good idea? Does ANYONE ELSE STILL think that was a good idea?

The VERY FIRST THING anyone, and I mean ANYONE does when ANY disaster hits is to shut off the natural gas lines feeding into the area. You know, so stuff doesn't BLOW UP.

I also find it hard to believe that the pumping stations surrounding the city have no electricity. Although it has not been documented yet, it appears they were not properly backed up with emergency generators either.

Just amazing the level of incompetence out of the Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco. No, it's worse than incompetence ... it's criminal negligence.

Impeachment is not enough.

Hi cirby,Th... (Below threshold)
jc:


Hi cirby,

There were a lot of elderly laying on the side of the freeway covered in tarps and such. Honestly, I don't know the hard facts about the convention center or superdome but I remember Geraldo interviewing a guy holding a baby who said, "This is not my baby, it belongs to that lady over there that passed out."

Also, the reason buses and aid were mobbed when they finally came was because people started to think they had been abandoned. They were pretty orderly going into the Super Dome.

RE: ed's post (September 7,... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: ed's post (September 7, 2005 11:11 AM)

Yes, ed, it does sound a bit crazy. This further reinforces my advocacy for the Second Amendment.

The reason I thought in terms of legal repercussions was the nugget "...that it was not in her best political interest to use them until they could be reinforced since they might get hurt, or worse, hurt or kill a civilian they were charged with protecting." If it can be determined that it was political interest rather than safety that induced such reaction as opposed to safety that just happened to be politically expedient inducing it, then I should think culpability takes on a new hue. Upon reflection that would be pretty hard to prove and I guess the only sanction will be the ballot box when those left unprotected get to decide the wisdom of her motivations and, um, action.

AD,Does anybody fr... (Below threshold)

AD,

Does anybody from LA really think that Governor Blanco has more than a snowball's chance in Hell of ever getting reelected? If she has any brains at all (and I'm pretty sure she doesn't), she'll give up trying to save her political ass and just start helping people, which, had she done that in the first place, probably would've guaranteed her reelection. Go figure.

RE: SilverBubble's post (Se... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: SilverBubble's post (September 7, 2005 05:13 PM)
Does anybody from LA really think that Governor Blanco has more than a snowball's chance in Hell of ever getting reelected?

One can never underestimate the wisdom of the constituency. To you and me, she's closer to the bighouse behind the barbed wire than the whitehouse on the hill. But, come election day, political machinery and entrenched behaviors can produce some pretty predictable outcomes. Local politics can spin like no one's business and you can see how Bush gets demonized via the national MSM. It's a yarn that will be perpetuated through all classes and in typical partisan fashion.

All politics are local and the locals selected their politics. I dare not assume that this tragedy has convinced anyone of anything other than the reflexive "government done bad so government fix things for me - here's what I want and here is the bill." If the constituency gets remuneration while the Democrats retain state and local positions, then the Democratic party will get the credit.

Honestly, I don't really know what impact the death of family or friends will have in this matter either. The argument presented by the Left is that the poor (predominantly Black) were unable to flee prior to catastrophe because of their dire circumstance. To some degree, that is true. However, this is a voting block that does not vote Republican... by default Democrats get the nod from this populous LA demographic. Politically, that helps the Democrats despite this tragedy. I do not predict a change in party lines en masse.

If your argument is that Blanco will be defeated in a primary and that incumbency will not protect her, then you present a much stronger point. However, I'll repeat my opening sentence - one can never underestimate the wisdom of the constituency. Time heals all wounds and I'll bet it heals the local political machine too. The inflow of national aid will certainly buy some nice stitching and band-aids.

This post ('The ... (Below threshold)

This post ('The Federal/State of Louisiana emergency response agreement') reviews some of the documented breakdown in communications...see the section that starts with "Maintaining Communications" .

Also this story on the NOPD... (Below threshold)

Also this story on the NOPD limited to 1 radio channel: New Orleans Cops Use Single Radio Channel




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