Skip to comments.Crescent City Connection blockade after Hurricane Katrina wasn't illegal, U.S. Justice Department
Posted on 09/30/2011 8:58:57 PM PDT by BBell
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday that those law enforcement officers who barred pedestrians from crossing the Crescent City Connection in the hectic days after Hurricane Katrina will not face federal prosecution. After a review of Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti's investigation into the incident, the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division found the bridge had been blocked for public safety reasons and that there was no sufficient evidence to prove that the officers intentionally broke the law.
U.S. Attorney Jim Letten agreed, and the case was closed.
"This is not a commentary on what should have happened or how people behaved or should have behaved," Letten said Friday. "It was simply a statement that federal prosecution would not be appropriate in this case."
The incident took place on Sept. 1, 2005, when a large group of people tried to cross the bridge from New Orleans into Gretna. Officers with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, the Crescent City Connection Police Department and the Gretna Police Department blocked the bridge, turning the crowd back toward the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. When individuals in the crowd became aggressive, at least one Gretna police officer fired a shot into the air.
No one was hurt, but the incident sparked a steady stream of investigations at the parish, state and federal levels. One by one, those cases reached the same conclusion: There wasn't enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges.
State Attorney General Foti sent his report in 2006 to the district attorneys in Jefferson and Orleans parishes and to the U.S. attorney's office. Letten said in 2007 that Justice Department officials agreed to review those findings.
Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson, whose department endured those inquiries, said Friday that he felt vindicated by the Civil Rights Division's decision to end the investigation.
"I'm certainly pleased that
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Not familiar with this episode. Is this the bridge that used to be called the GNO bridge?
Glad to hear this.
Here you go.
This was quite a discussion (over 1,000 posts):
Yes, but locals don’t call it that. They call it the Crescent City Connection.
Basically, a Katrina mob wanted to cross the bridge into the evacuated residential neighborhood Gretna, and Gretna cops said, “Uh, I don’t think so.”
Thanks for posting. I stayed for Katrina but by Sept. 9, 2005 I was out of my flooded neighborhood and in Ohio planning my trip back to rebuild. I had little time to view FR.
GNO and Crescent City Connection are one in the same.
That was one of the few times that Harry let himself be hobbled by politicial concerns. He failed to shut down the West Bank Expressway at the Jefferson Parish line, so it fell to the Gretna PD a bit further down the same road to turn the crowd back.
After the Oakwood Shopping Center was looted and burned, Harry located his balls and backed the Gretna cops' actions. He should've never wavered; there was nothing down that road for refugees. No place to house them, feed them or an easy route by which to evacuate them. Just thousands of evacuated residences and businesses.
Reading that was quite a hoot. As though whites were trying to keep blacks trapped in NO when the area on the west bank of the bridge is predominately black as well. Algiers is at the foot of that bridge on the west bank
So, the accusation is that Gretna police were keeping blacks from flooding into Algiers?
Well I felt pretty secure on the North Shore. The twin span was down and the 11 bridge was easy to defend. It still bothers me that Jack Strain and his boys in cahoots with the La. National Guard were illegally confiscating weapons.
If you consider allegations from the NAACP to be credible that is the accusation.
Haven’t been there since about 1976, but that wasn’t a white area back then. Lived about a half mile from the bridge for a very short while
The Mississippi River bridge from downtown N.O. (Crescent City Connection) crosses to Algiers, also a part of Orleans Parish. The bridge connects with an elevated expressway that sweeps to the right and parallels the river upstream. There are off-ramps that lead down into Algiers, then you cross into Jefferson Parish. There are off-ramps there that lead into Terrytown, then Gretna and other points down the road.
Gretna is an incorporated city in Jefferson Parish. Their police have no jurisdiction in unincorporated Jefferson Parish or in Orleans Parish (Algiers). IIRC, they closed the elevated roadway (not the "bridge") at the city's incorporation limit line. People crossing the bridge were able to exit the elevated roadway into Algiers and Terrytown, the Gretna PD had no reason to prevent that.
Yep, I thought Strain was more of the sort to run his Parish the way he saw fit, but he sure went along with the FEMA Incident Command handbook, chapter and verse.
And you know I voted for him. No comment.
While I agree the folks had no reason to move into the other area, I find it a wee bit interesting that when "officials" are involved, ignorance of the law IS an excuse.....If Joe Q. Citizen is involved, ignorance of the law is a ticket to prosecution.