New Orleans Police have launched an investigation into reports that White vigilantes hunted down and killed Black people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and were never prosecuted for their actions.
An article published by The Nation magazine, “Katrina’s Hidden Race War,” has sparked a national outcry about the way racism manifested itself in one of the worst national disasters in U.S. history.
In a statement released Wednesday, the New Orleans Police Department said that Superintendent Warren J. Riley “is currently looking into the allegations, and asked if anyone has substantial information relative to any incidents of this type call to the New Orleans Police Department Bureau of Investigations.”
Riley said the department was unaware of allegations before the article was published.
He police did not receive “any complaints or information to substantiate any of the allegations of racial conflicts or vigilante type crimes in the City of New Orleans including the Algiers Point on the west bank of the City.”
In the Nation article, two Black shooting survivors – Donnell Herrington and Marcel Alexander – relayed how they had been blasted with shotguns by White vigilantes in the mostly White Algiers Point neighborhood of New Orleans in the wake of the killer storm.
The article also quotes several White vigilantes who admit targeting Blacks, even shooting them as if they were “pheasants.” One of the Whites in the story says, proudly, “Three people got shot in just one day!”
Eleven Blacks were killed during the shooting spree, according to the report.