Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Shots On The Bridge: The Context Is Racism

I harbor and advise skepticism when the suffering of Black people becomes grist for White authors. The ten-year “anniversary” of the levee failure and the 2005 deluge of New Orleans was accompanied by the latest hemorrhage of Katrina literature, primed to commemorate and cash in. 

On the final Tuesday in August, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronnie Greene was in Washington, D.C. to discuss the freshly published Shots On The Bridge: Police Violence and Cover-Up in the Wake of Katrina. The book deconstructs the Danziger Bridge Shooting – where New Orleans police officers gunned down a pair of unarmed Black families, leaving two dead, four savagely maimed – and a decade of court wrangling. 

Greene shared one sentence with his D.C. audience that confirmed my suspicions and nearly decimated my willingness to read his book: “I really tried to put this shooting in context of what [the officers] were going through, what the department was going through.” 

In his discussion and the text, Greene describes the officers as Katrina’s “hostages,” laboring in the wake of unimaginable ruin and bedlam. Police leadership was flagrantly inept. Local officials and global news outlets insisted looting hooligans might overrun Louisiana. The officers, like many, had failures in the city’s bleakest hour. 

This position is tenable if the carnage on Danziger Bridge is a singular example of NOPD misbehavior. 

It is not. 

Greene documents decades of pre-Katrina, during Katrina, and post-Katrina police delinquency and abuse of New Orleans’ Black citizens. He cites the 2011 Department of Justice findings, which concluded, “NOPD’s mishandling of officer-involved shooting investigations was so blatant and egregious that it appeared intentional in some respects.” Even hinting that a natural or manmade disaster should mitigate our assessment of this slaughter and the years of fraud concealing it, minimizes the barbarism of the involved officers and devalues the Black lives terminated and mangled. As Greene meticulously documents, much of the Danziger conspiracy took place well after New Orleans was dry. 

In spite of my concerns, I had to read Greene’s offering. While sharing his motives for writing this grisly account, he remarked that Katrina created “so many horrors you couldn’t keep track.” Shots On The Bridge provides an abundance of detail about the NOPD ambush and cover-up that could have easily been debris in the wreckage. But most importantly, it emphasizes that an atrocity was perpetrated against innocent, loving families. These grieving relatives’ unwavering pursuit of justice may be the greatest - and least cited - example of NOLA “resilience.” 

The police fraudulently cast the Madison brothers as a band of armed ruffians who “had been looting and terrorizing people since the storm.” In truth, Ronald Madison was a mentally challenged 40-year-old with the mind of a six-year-old; he cried at the thought of abandoning Bobbi and Sushi, the family dachshunds, and rejected the chance to evacuate before the storm. His protective brother Lance comforted and shepherded him as they struggled to survive an inundated city. 

While crossing the bridge, officers shot Ronald in the back twice. He asked his brother Lance to, “Tell Mom I love her.” Ronald was shot in the back five additional times, stomped, and handcuffed after his death. 

Lance Madison survived, only to be shackled at gunpoint, arrested, charged with eight counts of attempted murder, and crammed into a temporary jail at “Camp Greyhound.” “He was held in a cage with a portable toilet. German shepherds circled the cage.” Lance’s love for his brother demanded that he recite witnesses’ names and remember critical facts of the Danziger carnage for the twenty-five days of his confinement.

The Madison family received reports of Ronald’s death and Lance’s arrest early. “For more than nine months, Sherrel Johnson did not know where her son JJ was.” Her son, James Brissette Jr., accompanied the Bartholomew family across the Danziger. Greene informs us that floodwaters claimed all but one of Johnson’s photographs of her 17-year-old son. If JJ were alive, she could take more pictures. 

“Bullet after bullet shredded JJ’s body from the heel of his foot to the top of his head; the teen now lay dead on the pavement. Seven gunshot wounds and even more pellet wounds, fired from multiple weapons, tore into JJ’s right leg, right buttock, and right elbow; pierced his left arm and shredded his neck; and lodged in his brain. His wiry body was left unrecognizable.” 

JJ and Ronald Madison were the only casualties that day, but NOPD brutes littered the bridge with bullet-riddled black bodies. The horror is presented in excruciating clarity: “Screams mixed with gunfire. The mother, father, and daughter, Lesha, cried out, bloodied and in pain. A bullet grazed Big Leonard Bartholomew’s head. Another tore into Lesha’s stomach. More gunfire ripped into Susan Bartholomew’s right arm, nearly severing it from her shoulder, her limb held together by skin. Lesha, at seventeen years old, one inch shorter than Susan, lay atop her mother, trying to shield her as bullets tore through the concrete barrier.” 

Shots On The Bridge skillfully blends court transcripts and police reports with crushing anecdotes from bereaved and wounded victims. Jose Holmes, who was blasted repeatedly, was thought “too far gone” and nearly left for dead. His recovery is all the more astounding because some of the hospital staff accepted the NOPD lies and “told Jose he needed to get healthy because, once he was released, he would be arrested on attempted murder charges.” 

Little Leonard Bartholomew was fourteen-years-old and a hulking eighty-five pounds at the time of the shooting. His family was reduced to bleeding carcasses clinging to life. He was shot at – not hit, slapped by a white patrolman, and handcuffed. Given the day’s events, he was fortunate. 

Greene rightly encourages readers to reflect on Little Leonard’s tearful apology upon reuniting with his dismembered family members. 

“I should have been shot, too. It isn’t right that I got off like that but everybody else has to go through all of this pain. And I’m just walking around, I’m fine. I don’t have to worry about injuries. It just isn’t right.” 

There’s an immense depravity about a Black teen suffering PTSD and survivor’s guilt not from Hurricane Katrina, but from crossing paths with the New Orleans Police Department. 

Readers can juxtapose the families’ suffering against the online comments that erased the 2011 federal convictions

Shots On The Bridge is an important reminder that Katrina and the cataclysmic levee fiasco are not the only horrors from 10 years ago.

9 comments:

Enrique Cardova said...

Very interesting.

meme said...

It's more than that I would say it's radical hatred, and terrorism.

Brooke said...

That racist Star Wars Storm Trooper meme is in such bad. People always have to turn things into a race situation. Its silly. I've been seeing some good anti racism slogans I wanted to share with you and your readers if thats okay: Anti Racism Slogans

Victor Palmer said...

Mr Fuller always talks about how non-white people are primitive, ignorant, feebleminded, silly and or stupid when reacting to the system of white supremacy racism.

When Mr. Fuller says the above. He is referring to our behaviour as prisoners of war, because we are not codified, which basically means we don’t have no plans of how to cope with the daily extreme direct and indirect violence that is inflicted on non-white people by the system white supremacy and committed by the practitioners of racism and who practice racism as war against all of the non-white people all over the world.

We as non-white people are confused and are afraid of telling ourselves the truth about our existence on this planet.

As a non-white person under this racial social system. I can see that non-white People globally lack self-respect and the necessity for self- preservation under this global system of racism.

We need to use codification as Mr. Fuller has suggested in his book called the United Independent Compensatory Code/ System/ Concept: A Textbook/ Workbook for Victims of White Supremacy.

I have used Mr. Fuller’s suggestions, and it works! I also am aware that I am a prisoner of war and there is only so much that a prisoner can do under the heel of the global wardens who are classified as white, certainly not all white People, but those who practice racism as a religion and who believe in mistreating and subjugating non-white People based on their colour.

Replace Racism with Justice!

www.producejustice.com

Sappa Lama Gomso said...

Everest Base Camp Trek is one of those journeys that create your vacation dreams return true. Hiking on the legendary foothills just under the mighty Mount Everest 8848m with exciting views of the master peaks will solely be found within the Everest Region. This celebrated trek is thought worldwide for its trailblazing routes & the landscapes speak to your senses. On this trip you furthermore Mera peak out at the celebrated Kala Patthar (5,600m/18,373ft) read purpose for a few grand direct views of the very best mountain in the world. Everest Base CampTrek additionally includes different celebrated eight thousand peaks like Mt mountain peak (8,516m /27,940ft), Makalu (8,485m /27,838 ft) Cho-Oyu (8,201m /26,906ft). The culture of this specific space is of nice notebook stuff & interacting with the native of us puts a lot of zest into your venturesome journey as you walk through the Khumbu region of the Asian country. This legendary path could be a psychological thriller for top & wild hikers World Health Organization want the tread the methods wherever legends walked before on their thanks to conquering mountain peak, some did some didn’t however the Everest Base Camp Trek path keeps those legends alive for many trekkers World Health Organization head to the present region. The trip begins with a stirring mountain flight to Lukla, one among the world’s highest mountains; & as shortly as you set down at that altitude, the remainder is history. Your hike takes you to the favored village city of Namche, referred to as the ‘gateway to the Khumbu’’ & from there on you rehearse quiet monasteries with the acknowledge Sherpa of us World Health Organization inhabit this region & their culture is price noting. On the way, we have a tendency to visit the Sagarmatha parkland, home to some rare fauna & flora, this additionally wherever we have a tendency to adapt for a few time. We head deep into the Khumbu hiking into the forest of shrub, birch trees & pine, with colorful villages wherever we have a tendency to square measure sincerely welcome by the Sherpa community. we have a tendency to square measure pleasantly stunned to return across a hospital-based mostly in Khunde and health post at Pheriche that shows this region not solely cares for the locals however also are able to look out of trekkers World Health Organization have altitude issues. Doctors square measure invariably at the post for aid treatment. The Everest Base Camp Trek is arduous however varied teahouses square measure found on the paths providing smart grubbed to shelter from the generally harsh climate. Our trek culminates at base camp so we have a tendency to create a path for Namche as we have a tendency to hike back to Lukla to rendezvous for our flight to Katmandu. we have a tendency to add an additional contingency day for inclement weather which will delay flights. It’s recommended to be pretty acceptable to undertake this journey; you only want some smart hiking exercise before doing this trip. And Nepal Base Camp Treks can do the remainder to allow you AN action-packed odyssey of a period.

Sappa Lama Gomso said...

Annapurna Base Camp Trek assortment may be a known steady trekking route of seven days in Annapurna range region of Asian nation. Annapurna Base Camp trekking that additionally called Annapurna Sanctuary trekking is that the greatest distinguished trekking in Asian nation. the foremost peaks of western portion of large Annapurna Himal includes Hiunchuli, Annapurna south, Fang, Annapurna, Gangapurna, Annapurna three and Machhapuchchhre that ar organized in such a fashion that they exactly type a bend that have a diameter of virtually ten miles. Annapurna base camp trek of seven days from Kathmandu to Pokhara provides the nice influence of existence of a giant area within the core Modi Khola mark its resolution within the south of this ice mass vale in slender gorge of twelve,000ft deep. when you pass what is more to the south this gorge end up to be even wider and provides rise to the productive vale wherever Gurung folks live. Trekking in Asian nation Annapurna Base Camp higher and middle half Moody Khola offers trekkers some short cut trekking ways. Annapurna base camp trekking of seven days package begin its morning flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara and therefore the terribly day it goes on to Nayapul with personal vehicles and trek extend to Natural hot reserving in Jhinu danda, from wherever begins the Annapurna base camp or Annapurna Sanctuary Trek of the Asian nation Himalaya.

Aadarsh Dahit said...

SEE Notes

Global Sales said...


Your blog is very informative and gracefully
Your guideline is very good.Thank you

buy research chemicals canada
crack cocaine for sale

Mindvalley said...

I learn new information from your blog, you are doing a great job. Keep it up.
https://blog.mindvalley.com/subconsciously/