Friday, November 4


Rep. Cynthia McKinney asks, "Where's the outrage?" about the overtly racist act of blocking Hurricane Katrina refugees from fleeing New Orleans via the Gretna bridge.

Today I will introduce legislation to strip all federal funds from the Gretna City Police Department, the Jefferson Parish Police, and the Crescent City Connection security force, all reportedly involved in the tragic blocking of the Gretna City bridge.

I was outraged, and I'll warrant many other Americans were as well. The eyewitness accounts of the few whites who were among the crowd of Katrina evacuees of police officers were chilling and convincing in their charges of racism on the part of the Gretna police. They insisted that police said they weren't going to allow "another Superdome" in their community. The excuse given later that they were just trying to protect the "valuables" left behind by fleeing Gretna citizens does not mitigate their action, but rather adds fuel to the assertion of racism -- the assumption by police that desperate evacuees, mostly black, would be more interested in stealing others' belongings than in their own safety, and the priority given to property over people.

This disgraceful incident merits serious consequences. If Congress won't do something, the Justice Department Civil Rights Division should. The Gretna sheriff (and all those who would adopt Bull Connor mindset and tactics) should be removed from his position of authority where he can perpetuate racism and endanger the lives of citizens merely because he doesn't like the look of them.

"We were told by the commander at the police command post ... that we should cross that bridge, and there would be buses waiting to take us out," he said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

"We walked, probably 200 people, about a two-hour trek," Tim Sheer, another evacuee, told CNN's "News Night with Aaron Brown." "We got to the top of the bridge. They stopped us with shotguns.

"We had people in wheelchairs, we had people in strollers, people on crutches, so we were a slow-moving group," said Bradshaw. "And we didn't think anything when we saw the deputies there. Then all of a sudden we heard shooting."
"Jumped out of his car with the gun aimed at us, screaming and cursing and yelling at us to get the blank-blank away," he said "And just, just so rabidly angry. And we tried to reason, we tried to talk. And he was just putting his gun in the face of young children and families. It said Gretna on the police car."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a resident of Gretna, all I can say is THANK GOD for the efforts of our police. No, we DID NOT want another Superdome in our town. Would you? Contrary to what you believe while sitting in your sheltered environment, not all refugees were good people, and looting at the time was rampant. Do you realize that the mall at that bridge location had been set on fire and was still burning at the time of this incident?

6:21 PM  

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