I woke up uncharacteristically early this morning, so even after fussing around for a couple of hours, I managed to catch much of the morning session of the Danziger Bridge case. I hopped on my bike and headed down to the courthouse, locking up to the Where Ya’ Rack bike rack in Lafayette Square–thanks, YLC! The last witness before lunch was Ignatius Hill, a cop who was on the Budget rental truck that carried the cops and their guns to the bridge that morning of August 6, 2005.
I didn’t plan to go back to the courthouse for more testimony in the Danziger Bridge case this afternoon, but after reading about the case and watching that Frontline episode this morning–I’m on vacation–I felt the pull of the courtroom. I hopped on my bike, leaving camera and cell phone at home (hence, no picture), and headed downtown. Continue reading
My excellent summer roomie E. invited me to join her to sit in on the Danziger Bridge trial that started Monday at the federal court building downtown on Poydras. I don’t know if you are following this trial against police officers charged with shooting and killing two people, injuring four more, and executing the most brazen cover up since the Henry Glover case, but if you’re not, I advise you read up. It is such an important case, about the extent of the police state, its limits or lack thereof during disaster (and if you haven’t had a disaster in your community yet, just wait–we do things by “disaster” now), and what justice will look like in a city that is, as J. often says, at war with its people. I had the day off, so I decided to hop on the bike and ride down to check out today’s witness. Yep, our trials take place in open court. I locked up on a street sign and headed in for two chilling hours of slow, tedious testimony about a seven page report, a seventeen page report, a thirty four page report, a forty six page report, and a fifty four page report (though the defense says that wasn’t a thirty four page report–those were notes) that taken together, painted a picture of a most elaborate conspiracy to obstruct justice. Michael Lohman, the NOPD lieutenant testifying today, when asked why he did it, said he didn’t want to get in trouble, or get his friends in trouble. His biggest regret is for the people who were killed, injured, and whose lives are forever scarred by these murders. They didn’t deserve it, he said. It is deep, this part where staying out of trouble was worth so much more than the lives and blood of others, a stark example of what happens when deep down, we don’t recognize that other people are real, and lead full, complicated, messy lives, just like we do . People are complicated. I stayed for part of the cross examination–Lohman acted alone, those were pages, not a report, and preparing a report means you wrote it all alone–before calling it a day and heading out for a bike ride. I snapped this picture out on Tulane Avenue. Relocation assistance is available for those affected by the new hospital project. Not hiring, though. This city, man, this flippin’ city.