Comments: Gretna, LA Police Chief says NOLA evacuation route closed to keep people away

However, I do add Chief Lawson's name to that of Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin, and renew my call that he be arrested and charged with any number of crimes from manslaugter to reckless homicide. I feel he, too, should be jailed and held by federal authorities until an investigation and trial is able to convict or exonerate him.

At the risk of disqualifying myself from the juries, I'll be prejicial and say that the Katrina Three are guilty of, at the minimum, criminal neglicence in office.

And I was very tempted to do what you didn't.

Posted by steveegg at September 9, 2005 11:01 PM

Spell-check, spell-check, spell-check. That should be "prejudicial". I'm so pissed off at that prick that if I were the type to blame anything other than my own stupidity for the typo, I'd blame that.

Posted by steveegg at September 9, 2005 11:03 PM

Is there any such crime as criminal negligence in office? I doubt it. Nevertheless, these actions by "peace officers" in Gretna are more shameful and immoral than those of the rapists, snipers and looters in New Orleans. These "peace officers" had a sworn duty to protect human life. Instead they assaulted refugees in danger of dying. Their "reasons" are a bunch of rationalizations. Publish this story widely. Publish the full names and positions of every "peace officer" involved in this disgrace. Make the world know. None of them should ever hold public office again.

Posted by Jaccuse at September 10, 2005 07:47 AM

It's been a few years since I retired, but I don't think the law has changed. The officers themselves are also liable for blocking an evacuation route. Even the fact that it is a US Hwy would be sufficient to prevent their actions for the reason given. There is no requirement that an officer obey an unlawful order. Everybody involved should be charged with culpable negligence in the deaths of any bodies found on that stretch of US 90.
At the same time, I can't help but wonder why 2 paramedics were fleeing rather than offering assistance.

Posted by mellb at September 10, 2005 12:37 PM

The part of the story that will be reported before long is that Karl Rove was an adviser to the Police Chief of Gretna.

Just kidding, but someone will report some such nonsense.

Posted by Neo at September 10, 2005 07:22 PM

If they were so worried about their precious city, they could have set up a route for the evacuees to walk through on. Or, they could have provided busses to bring the people through the city to a safe area, any safe area.

That was wrong what they did and they need to be held accountable. It sounds like the movie, Escape from New York.

Posted by Bob at September 12, 2005 08:29 PM

The Chief has a right to protect his city if he wants to. He was also right, if he has no services to offer, all the crowds can do is "be a further problem". His job is to solve problems, not let more problems develop. Ask the citizns of Gretna if they thought he did okay or not, they are, afterall, the only ones who count.

Posted by Ed at September 12, 2005 08:40 PM

ed, your an idiot.

Posted by Greg at September 13, 2005 08:53 PM

I tried to call them, just to ask if everything I was hearing is true. The phone has been busy for a long time. Perhaps some of you could try as well....

City of Gretna, Louisiana
200 Fifth St. -- Gretna, LA 70053
Headquarters (504) 366-4374

Posted by gd at September 13, 2005 09:01 PM


1940 Nazi Germany would have been proud of the actions of the Gretena Police Force. I sure hope that this case will be investigated.

It seems that Mr. Lawson, or should we call him "Lawless" has not learned anything in church , which he probably attended every Sunday.

Shame on the Police of Gretena
Hanne

Posted by Hanne Weidmann at September 14, 2005 05:51 AM

However wrong Eddie Lawson's other actions are, how can he be blamed for the actions of a municipality not under his control? Gretna is in a different parish (county ) than New Orleans. Lawson is the Orleans parish police chief. Jefferson parish's sheriff is Harry Lee. Fruthermore since Gretna is a city within the parish the police are under the control of the city police chief and NOT under parish government.

Posted by KP at September 14, 2005 06:59 AM

Has the Chief been arrested yet, or fired? I would like to know under what authority he shut the bridge down. I worked in law enforcement for many years. Officers are sworn to protect the public and uphold the law. They illegally used their weapons to harrass the public. Closing the bridge and endangering the public was an abuse of their power. Those officers are a disgrace to the profession and should be suspended until the trial is over. They are innocent until proven guilty, but having them continue in their jobs would greatly endanger the public.

Posted by James Silverstone at September 14, 2005 05:33 PM

Everyone is quick to point the finger at the Gretna Police Department. If you people would adequately research your information instead of what you hear from the media you will see the police chief has to make split second decisions for his force and citizens. You get to brake that split second decision apart over a long period of time. Furthermore, EVERY MUNICIPALITY IN THE METROPOLITAN GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA THAT SURROUNDS NEW ORLEANS ALSO BLOCKADED THEIR CITY IN THE SAME EXACT MANNER AS GRETNA NOT ALLOWING PEOPLE TO ENTER FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER. Neighboring municipalties refused to allow refugees into their cities for a good reason. The facts of you so called incidents are smeared beyond reality. Gretna PD blocked the bridge for a brief moment at which time the BRIDGE POLICE took over the blockade which they are currently holding at this time.

Posted by greg at September 14, 2005 11:12 PM

Greg wrote:

EVERY MUNICIPALITY IN THE METROPOLITAN GREATER NEW ORLEANS AREA THAT SURROUNDS NEW ORLEANS ALSO BLOCKADED THEIR CITY IN THE SAME EXACT MANNER AS GRETNA NOT ALLOWING PEOPLE TO ENTER FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER.

And that, I would humbly submit, is the problem. The emergency has brought the problem to universal attention, but many US cities suffer from the same problem as New Orleans: an urban core of poor people and rich-folks'-places-of-business surrounded by hostile suburban jurisdictions, and with no legally competent regional authority. A really serious emergency in, say, Boston, might produce a similar result.

Posted by Howard at September 15, 2005 02:37 AM

Wow, Greg, for someone who accuses others of not adequately researching information you certainly sound authoritarian...and like an ignoramus. Every municipality DID NOT blockade their city. If you lived there or better yet, researched your own information, you would find your statements to be false. You may want to look at the evacuation maps published by the Louisiana State Police at http://www.lsp.org/lcadeg.html. Apparently the entire state of Louisiana would disagree with you and the Gretna police. Which parishes do you think blocked the entire section of southeastern Louisiana from escaping to Baton Rouge, the northshore area, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and other states? You won't find a single parish government or police department in any of these areas who will support the idea (or your statement) that public thoroughfares like the GNO should or would be blocked in a time of crisis or hurricane evacuation. If they did not a single person living in New Orleans would have escaped the carnage. If you want to protect people who don't value every human life I suggest you stay in Gretna with your daddy, the chief of police and keep that pointed white hood attached securely over your head. You're going to need that burning cross to keep you warm, too.

Posted by mgb at September 17, 2005 08:37 AM

Fist of all are any of you actually from New Orleans or any where around it? Second, are any of you from Gretna? As it sounds like it none of you are. If you would have been in his situation and had to keep people out of his city maybe you would have some sort of an idea of what it was like. If you were to drive through Gretna right now you would see several signs up the read “ THANK YOU CHIEF LAWSON AND THE CITY OF GRETNA POLICE DEPT.” His people are proud of him. He kept his city and the rest of the West Bank safe. If any of you had a house with all of your belongings in it (and wanted to keep it that way) you would know what it is like. Until you are in his shoes and have to protect other’s lives you need to shut up. Why don’t you point a finger at yourself for a while and get off his back?

Posted by ccc at September 17, 2005 06:16 PM

TO MQB,

MQB STATED THAT I SHOULD RESEARCH MY INFORMATION REGUARDING EVACUATION ROUTES AND THAT MY STATEMENTS WERE FALSE. I AM AFRAID NOT. ALL SOUROUNDING MUNICIPALITIES (WESTWEGO, KENNER, HARAHAN, ETC.) TOOK THE SAME ACTION AS GRETNA. THE POLICE CHIEFS OF THE ABOVE MUNICIPALTIES SUPPORTED THE IDEA AND DID THE SAME TO PROTECT THEIR CITY. EVEN THE SHERIFF OF JEFFERSON PARISH (HARRY LEE), WHO THE ABOVE MUNICIPALITIES RESIDE IN, SUPPORTED THE LOCAL CHIEFS OF POLICE AND STATED THEY DID NOTHING WRONG IN PROTECTING THEIR CITY. EVACUATION ROUTES HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. THE BLOCKADES WERE CONDUCTED AFTER THE STORM. TAKE IT FROM SOMEONE WHO WAS THERE. YOU WILL FIND ALL OF THE PUBLIC OFFICIALS IN JEFFERSON PARISH, GRETNA, HARAHAN, WESTWEGO, KENNER, ECT., WITH THE EXCEPTION OF NEW ORLEANS, FULLY SUPPORTED THE BLOCKADE DECISION AND CONDUCTED IT FOR THEIR CITIES SAFETY.

Posted by greg at September 18, 2005 10:18 PM

I love this, criticize the police department that actually DIDN'T have their officers quit. I was in intermittent contact with some of my friends at the PD and they too could not reach their homes, family and were all living in one room on the floors of the station. While NOPD was doing such a d*** good job looting THEIR OWN citizens or evacuating vice staying to avoid these type problems, the one small department with VERY little resources put their lives on the line to protect their citizens from the very problems that NOPD contributed to. Good on you chief.

Posted by jla at September 19, 2005 03:44 PM

I gather many on this post are not from Gretna or New Orleans. When I picked up my father from Gretna the Friday after Katrina struck, there was no food, water, electricity, sewage or any other service in Gretna. Oakwood shopping mall (a few blocks from my father's house) was already burned down by arsonists (looters perhaps) from New Orleans. There were reports that a Meadowcrest hospital vehicle escaped an attempted car-jack. Gretna police have very limited personel and resources to handle such an influx of evacuees, and the amount of crime that was well reported in New Orleans. They did what they could by taking in some evacuees, but had to discontinue taking in evacuees because of limited resources and to protect the Gretna residents from crime (remember, Oakwood mall was burned down by New Orleans evacuees). It is horrible that any person would face the conditions people faced in New Orleans (and Gretna and the surrounding burbs), but Gretna was not able to solve the problems that New Orleans officials could or did not solve. I am personally glad that my 83 year old father was safe from the crime that we all heard in the media, and do not blame Gretna officials for taking on their primary duty, which is to serve and protect its residents. I do not believe race played a role in Gretna's decision.

The question I would ask is why did New Orleans officials mislead their own residents by stating that food and water and transportation would be available in Gretna (if the reports are true)?

Posted by cs at September 22, 2005 02:22 PM

I found this email on there website. rharris@gretnala.com

I'd love to see the people responsible held accountable.

Posted by KachieMichelle at September 25, 2005 05:50 PM

I AM A CITIZEN OF THE CITY OF GRETNA AND WOULD PERSONALY LIKE TO THANK CHEIF LAWSON AND HIS WHOLE DEPARTMENT FOR THE EFFORT THEY TOOK TO KEEP OUR CITY, FAMILES, AND HOME SAFE FROM THE VIOLENCE THAT WAS GOING ON IN NEW ORLEANS. ALL OF YOU STUPID PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT WENT ON EXCEPT FOR WHAT YOU HEAR ON YOU TV. CHEIF LAWSON DID LOCK DOWN HIS CITY AND KEPT IT SAFE. BUT HE ALSO TOOK OVER THE RTA BUSSES IN THE CITY OF GRATNA AND TRANSPORTED OVER 5,000 NEW ORLEANS EVACUEES TO SAFTEY. MANY OF YOU IDIOTS MAKING COMMENTS ON THIS MANS ACTIONS ARE NOT FROM THIS AREA AND HAVE NO IDEA WHAT REALY WENT ON IN NEW ORLEANS. I PERSONALY THINK THE BRIDGE SHOULD HAVE BEEN BLOCKED OFF EAIRLEY AND MABEY THOSE ANIMALS WOULD NOT HAVE LOOTED AND SET OAKWOOD MALL ON FIRE. WELL AFTER THAT THE BRIDGE WAS BLOCKED. IF THAT MEASURE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN TAKEN THE CITY WOULD HAVE BEEN TORE TO PEICES BY THE TRASH THAT WAS COMMING ACROSS THE BRIDGE. I CANT THANK CHEIF LAWSON ENOUGH FOR WHAT HE DID. ALL I CAN SAY IS IF YOU WERE NOT THERE THEN KEEP YOUR FUCKIN MOUTH SHUT BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT REALY WENT ON. OH, AND IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW BALLS IS SPELLED IT IS "ARTHUR LAWSON"

Posted by PETER at October 4, 2005 01:00 AM
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