New York Times, August 26, 2010
Rumor to Fact in Tales of Post-Katrina Violence
NEW ORLEANS — In the days after Hurricane Katrina left much of New Orleans in flooded ruins, the city was awash in tales of violence and bloodshed.
The narrative of those early, chaotic days — built largely on rumors and half-baked anecdotes — quickly hardened into a kind of ugly consensus: poor blacks and looters were murdering innocents and terrorizing whoever crossed their path in the dark, unprotected city.
“As you look back on it, at the time it was being reported, it looked like the city was under siege,” said Russel L. Honoré, the retired Army lieutenant general who led military relief efforts after the storm.
Today, a clearer picture is emerging, and it is an equally ugly one, including white vigilante violence, police killings, official cover-ups and a suffering population far more brutalized than many were willing to believe. Several police officers and a white civilian accused of racially motivated violence have recently been indicted in various cases, and more incidents are coming to light as the Justice Department has started several investigations into civil rights violations after the storm. Continue reading