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Cops allowed to shoot post-Katrina looters, says report

Joint investigative project says police were allowed to shot thieves in the days after Hurricane Katrina.

File photo dated 16 September 2005 showing shopping trolleys outside the Wal-Mart in downtown New Orleans, the site of looting post-Katrina.
Image: AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt

NEW ORLEANS POLICE officers coping with the aftermath of hurrican Katrina were told they could shoot looters, according to members of the force.

Standard procedure on the use of deadly force dictates that police officers only fire to protect themselves or others from an imminent physical threat.

However, the publications that have made the revelation say the origins of the order to shoot looters are unclear.

A special report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune and ProPublica says that the lack of clarity surrounding the order indicates the confusion about what level of force should be used by authorities in the wake of the disaster.

Eleven people were shot by police in the days following the hurricane, one of whom, 31-year-old Henry Glover, was allegedly shot and burned by police.

Five current or former officers were charged in relation to Glover’s death in July.

Four police officers have been charged with shooting dead two unarmed people, and several other federal investigations into allegations of corruption at the department are ongoing.

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