08-16-2022  3:22 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • Employees of NY State Solar, a residential and commercial photovoltaic systems company, install an array of solar panels on a roof, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, in the Long Island hamlet of Massapequa, N.Y. Americans are less concerned now about how climate change might impact them personally — and about how their personal choices affect the climate than they were three years ago, according to a according to a June poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

    AP-NORC Poll: Many in US Doubt Their Impact on Climate

    Americans now believe in climate change, but they are less convinced that it will affect them or that their choices can make a difference than they were in 2019. Only about half say their actions have an effect on climate change, compared with two-thirds in 2019 Read More
  • The receipt for property that was seized during the execution of a search warrant by the FBI at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., is photographed Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

    FBI Seized Top Secret Documents in Trump Estate Search

    The FBI recovered “top secret” and even more sensitive documents from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, according to court papers released Friday, including some of the nation's most important secrets that if revealed publicly could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to U.S. interests Read More
  • Jordan Brand and Howard University Announce 20- Year Partnership

    Jordan Brand and Howard University Announce 20- Year Partnership

    Together, Howard University and Jordan Brand aim to continue uplifting Black students and amplifying the influence of HBCUs on a collegiate sports level while also continuing the impact on culture globally.  Read More
  • Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

    Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

    The Oregon Lottery’s most recent advertising slogan is “Together, we do good things”. But when we look at where the profits are coming from and where any potential benefit from lottery profits flow to, is this really true?  Read More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Starbucks Asks Labor Board to Halt Union Votes Temporarily

A store in Overland Park, Kansas is one of 314 U.S. Starbucks locations where workers have petitioned the NLRB to hold union elections since late last year. More than 220 of those stores have voted to unionize.

Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

The Oregon Lottery’s most recent advertising slogan is “Together, we do good things”. But when we look at where the profits are coming from and where any potential benefit from lottery profits flow to, is this really true? 

Court Sides With Governor Kate Brown Over Early Prison Releases

Two attorneys took particular issue with Brown’s decision to allow 73 people convicted of murder, assault, rape and manslaughter while they were younger than 18 to apply for early release.

Ballot Measure to Overhaul City Government Promises Minority Representation While Facing Controversy

The Portland Charter Commission aims to bring city in line with how other major U.S. cities do local governance. 

NEWS BRIEFS

The Regional Arts & Culture Council Rolls Out New Grant Program

The Arts3C grant program is designed to be fully responsive to what artists and art makers in the community need funding to support ...

OHA Introduces New Monkeypox (hMPXV) Website

As of Aug. 10, 95 people have tested positive for monkeypox in Oregon ...

Wyden, Colleagues Renew Request for FDA to Address Concerns about Dangerous Pulse Oximeter Inaccuracies Affecting Communities of Color

“There are decades of research showing inaccurate results when pulse oximeters are used to monitor people of color” ...

Inslee Issues Directive Outlining Monkeypox Virus Response

As of Friday, Washington state had confirmed 265 monkeypox cases. ...

Seattle Hospital to Refuse Some Patients Due to Capacity

The hospital is caring for some 560 inpatients, more than 130% of its licensed capacity of 413 patients. ...

River chief imprisoned for fishing fights for sacred rights

THE DALLES, Oregon (AP) — Wilbur Slockish Jr. has been shot at, had rocks hurled at him. He hid underground for months, and then spent 20 months serving time in federal prisons across the country — all of that for fishing in the Columbia River. But Slockish, a traditional river...

Columbia River's salmon are at the core of ancient religion

ALONG THE COLUMBIA RIVER (AP) — James Kiona stands on a rocky ledge overlooking Lyle Falls where the water froths and rushes through steep canyon walls just before merging with the Columbia River. His silvery ponytail flutters in the wind, and a string of eagle claws adorns his neck. ...

Hoosiers looking for a turnaround after dismal 2021 season

Indiana linebacker Cam Jones and quarterback Jack Tuttle took matters into their own hands this offseason. They called their teammates together to discuss the goals and aspirations of the program, the need to always play with an edge and to break down precisely why things went wrong...

OPINION

No One Ever Told You About Black August?

Black America lives in a series of deserts. Many of us live in food deserts, financial deserts, employment deserts, and most of us live in information deserts. ...

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

UK watchdog probes police stop of sprinter dos Santos

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s police watchdog is investigating after armed officers pulled over Portuguese sprinter Ricardo dos Santos' car in London two years after a traffic stop of the athlete led to accusations of racial profiling. The Metropolitan Police force said officers on a...

Oregon justice fires panel due to lack of public defenders

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's chief justice fired all the members of the Public Defense Services Commission on Monday, frustrated that hundreds of defendants charged with crimes and who cannot afford an attorney have been unable to obtain public defenders to represent them. The...

Noem releases social study standards burnishing U.S. history

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday released a revised proposal for social studies standards in public schools that lays out a mostly shining vision of American history, after an initial draft of the standards came under heavy criticism last year from conservatives...

ENTERTAINMENT

R. Kelly jury selection focuses on 2019 documentary

CHICAGO (AP) — Jury selection in R. Kelly's federal trial on charges that he rigged his 2008 state child pornography trial began Monday with the judge and attorneys quickly focusing on whether would-be jurors watched a 2019 documentary about sex abuse allegations against the R&B singer. ...

Review: Man Ray muse Kiki de Montparnasse takes center stage

“Kiki Man Ray,” by Mark Braude (W.W. Norton) You may have seen the famous picture of her nude back marked with the sound holes of a violin, which recently sold for .4 million, the highest price ever paid for a photograph at auction. Or, if not that, then an equally striking...

Rock icon Melissa Etheridge announces solo off-Broadway show

NEW YORK (AP) — Rocker Melissa Etheridge has found a new stage: The Grammy- and Oscar-winner will unveil a solo show mixing her music and stories off-Broadway. “Melissa Etheridge: My Window – A Journey Through Life” will play 12 performances only starting Oct. 13 at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

US, South Korea to begin expanded military drills next week

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States and South Korea will begin their biggest combined military training...

Giuliani targeted in criminal probe of 2020 election

ATLANTA (AP) — Rudy Giuliani is a target of the criminal investigation into possible illegal attempts by...

Iran submits a 'written response' in nuclear deal talks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran said Tuesday it submitted a “written response” to what has been...

Germany flying 6 fighters 8K miles in 24 hours to Singapore

BANGKOK (AP) — A group of German air force fighter jets neared Singapore on Tuesday in a marathon bid to fly...

US, South Korea to begin expanded military drills next week

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The United States and South Korea will begin their biggest combined military training...

Germany: 1 dead after self-driving BMW veers into traffic

BERLIN (AP) — Police in Germany said Tuesday that one person has died and nine were seriously injured after a...

Propublica, Frontline and the New Orleans Times-Picayune

By Sabrina Shankman and Tom Jennings of Frontline, Brendan McCarthy and Laura Maggi of The New Orleans Times-Picayune and A.C. Thompson of ProPublica

This story was co-published with The New Orleans Times-Picayune.
In the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, an order circulated among New Orleans police authorizing officers to shoot looters, according to present and former members of the department.
It's not clear how broadly the order was communicated. Some officers who heard it say they refused to carry it out. Others say they understood it as a fundamental change in the standards on deadly force, which allow police to fire only to protect themselves or others from what appears to be an imminent physical threat.
The accounts of orders to "shoot looters," "take back the city," or "do what you have to do" are fragmentary. It remains unclear who originated them or whether they were heard by any of the officers involved in shooting 11 civilians in the days after Katrina. Thus far, no officers implicated in shootings have used the order as an explanation for their actions. Only one of the people shot by police – Henry Glover – was allegedly stealing goods at the time he was shot.

Still, current and former officers said the police orders – taken together with tough talk from top public officials broadcast over the airwaves -- contributed to an atmosphere of confusion about how much force could be used to combat looting.
In one instance captured on a grainy videotape shot by a member of the force, a police captain relayed the instructions at morning roll call to cops preparing for the day's patrols.
"We have authority by martial law to shoot looters," Captain James Scott told a few dozen officers in a portion of the tape viewed by reporters. Scott, then the commander of the 1st district, is now captain of the special operations division.
Another police captain, Harry Mendoza, told federal prosecutors last month that he was ordered by Warren Riley, then the department's second-in-command, to "take the city back and shoot looters." A lieutenant who worked for Mendoza, Mike Cahn III, said he remembered the scene similarly and would testify about it under oath if asked.
Mendoza and Cahn said in separate interviews that Riley made the remarks at a meeting at Harrah's casino, where police had established a command post. Mendoza quoted Riley as saying: "If you can sleep with it, do it," according to a document prepared by prosecutors and provided to lawyers defending police officers recently charged with federal offenses.
Riley categorically denied telling officers they could shoot looters. "I didn't say anything like that. I heard rumors that someone else said that. But I certainly didn't say that, no."
"I may have said we need to take control of the city," Riley said. "That may have happened."
Riley also questioned the credibility of Mendoza, whom he fired in 2006 for alleged neglect of duties. Mendoza has since been reinstated; Riley has retired.
Scott declined comment but said through his attorney that a fuller version of the videotape places his remarks in a different context. But he would not disclose what else he said that day or characterize more completely what he meant.
The officer who shot the video, Lt. Sandra Simpson, would not permit reporters to see the complete recording. New Orleans police officials have said that they do not consider the tape a public record and that it is thus up to Simpson whether to allow the tape to be viewed.
Scott's address came at a moment of widespread confusion over whether authorities had imposed martial law, a phrase used by then-Mayor Ray Nagin on the radio. In fact, martial law does not exist under Louisiana's constitution. But experts in police training said the use of those words by politicians and in news reports may have fueled perceptions that the rules had changed.
In recent months, a team of reporters from The Times-Picayune, PBS Frontline, and ProPublica have examined department leaders' conduct as part of a broader look at police shootings after Hurricane Katrina. A documentary drawn from that work airs Wednesday evening on Frontline, which can be seen locally on WYES-TV at 8 p.m.
The confusion over whether martial law had been declared was widely reported at the time. But until now, it was not known that some within the police force interpreted it to authorize shooting of looters who posed no direct threat.
New Orleans police came under unprecedented pressures after the city flooded. Many of the department's police stations were submerged in water. The command structure broke down as the radio system and computerized communications failed. Officers went for days without sleep as they rescued trapped residents from rooftops. Commanders relied on sporadic face-to-face meetings to direct operations.
"During the Katrina days, we weren't living in the real world, we were living in a holocaust," said former police Lt. David Benelli, who was assigned to the Superdome and has since retired. "We were living in a situation that no other police department ever had to endure."
*
A mix of rumor and reality fueled concerns about the breakdown of civil order.
Nagin, the mayor, said in a televised interview days after the storm that there had been rapes and murders among the people taking shelter in the Superdome, a claim that turned out to be untrue. Police Superintendent Eddie Compass made similar statements.
On Aug. 30, 2005, Riley told the mayor he had heard an officer say on the radio, "I need more ammo. We need more ammo."
Sally Forman, the mayor's communications chief at the time, said this report -- which, it later emerged, did not come from NOPD -- had immediate impact.
Nagin, she recalled, directed Riley to "stop search and rescue and bring our force back to controlling the streets."
"The mayor said, 'Let's stop the looting, let's stop the lawlessness and let's put our police officers on the streets so that our citizens are protected,'" Forman said.
Nagin had one more message for the deputy superintendent, in Forman's recollection: "Let's stop this crap now."
"We will do that," responded Riley, according to Forman.
That same day, Nagin learned that a police officer, Kevin Thomas, had been shot in the head. Forman said "it made the mayor furious.''
"And that's when he said we need to declare martial law.''
Soon after, Nagin gave a radio interview in which he said he had called for martial law, adding to the confusion about the rules of engagement. Nagin declined to be interviewed.
*
Accounts vary of the meeting outside Harrah's at which Riley delivered his remarks. Some recall Riley speaking to a small group of senior officers; others remember it as a larger gathering.
Cahn, who reported to Mendoza during the storm, said the order was delivered on Aug. 31, the day after officer Thomas was wounded. Mendoza thought the instructions were given either Aug. 31 or Sept. 1.
Cahn, who is still a reserve lieutenant, said: "It was in Harrah's parking lot. We were having our morning meeting – the captains and their lieutenants were there. And Riley said, "It's time to take the city back. I'm giving you instructions to tell your men to shoot all looters."
"It was such an almost ridiculous order that Mendoza and I said there was no way that we were going to tell our guys that. You can't just decide arbitrarily that you're going to start shooting people for stealing things.
"For a commanding officer to tell you that I'm giving you this order – it's easy to think that officers would have taken that and run with it."
Mendoza, who is now in charge of the police academy, said he described the meeting at Harrah's to a group of federal prosecutors studying the department's training programs.
In an interview, Mendoza expanded on his statement to prosecutors. He said Riley arrived in the morning and asked all the police operating from Harrah's to gather beneath the casino's canopy. He estimated that 30 to 50 people were present.
Mendoza said he was "shocked" by the order to shoot looters and believed it might have confused less experienced officers. The remarks, he said, "could have easily damaged their understanding and ability to clearly recognize their responsibilities and follow state law."
Two current officers and one former officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, also remember Riley telling officers at Harrah's that they could shoot looters.
All quote Riley as speaking of the need to "take the city back." Like Mendoza and Cahn, they say they decided not to pass on the order.
Riley strongly denied issuing such an edict. "I absolutely deny it; it absolutely never happened," he said. As for Mendoza, he said: "I despise that guy. I fired him. I don't know where he's getting that foolishness from."
Kevin Diel, a former officer, said he saw Riley address a group of 40 to 50 officers at Harrah's on Sept. 2 or Sept. 3. Riley "walked up in a pair of blue jeans, his uniform shirt and a ball cap, and really just starting giving a pep speech, you know, kind of a morale-booster, saying that we were not gonna allow the looters to take the city," Diel recalled. "We were going to more or less protect the borders of it and march through downtown and take the city back."
Diel did not recall Riley explicitly saying that officers could shoot looters. After Riley left, Diel said, cops began analyzing the orders, and some wondered aloud whether the deputy superintendent expected officers to "go through the streets, you know, shooting looters?"
*
Experts said that even instructing officers to "take back the city" – the order Riley acknowledges giving – was dangerously ambiguous.
"Just sending out a general order, general statement about 'take back the city' with no specific guidelines is an invitation to disaster," said Samuel Walker, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and author of 13 books on police, civil liberties, and criminal justice. "What do the officers think? We can do anything?"
Under standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court, Louisiana law and police department guidelines, officers are allowed to use deadly force when they have a reasonable belief there is a threat of "great bodily harm" to either the officer or another person.
"A statement, explicit or implied, that you take back the city and do whatever needs to be done is absolutely wrong, [a] complete invitation to disaster," he said.
It remains unclear whether the orders have any direct link to the shootings of civilians.
On Sept 3, 2005, a 1st District officer shot Matt McDonald in the back, killing the man. The officer said McDonald, a 41-year-old drifter, ignored orders to let go of a white plastic bag containing a handgun, which he allegedly brandished at police. McDonald's relatives are skeptical of the account.
Bryant Wininger, the narcotics squad lieutenant who shot McDonald, has since retired. He declined to respond to questions or to address whether he was present for Scott's statements about martial law and the shooting of looters.
*
It's also unclear what role the orders to shoot looters might play in the federal trials against officers accused of shooting unarmed civilians.
The lawyer for David Warren, the police officer who shot Henry Glover, said Warren had not heard the order.
But the lawyer, Michael Ellis, said the order was emblematic of the chaos of that time frame. When Warren fired his .223 rifle at Glover, he had just spent the night standing guard over a man charged with attacking Kevin Thomas, his fellow officer.
"He was guarding the defendant who had shot Kevin,'' Ellis said. "He looked through the window and could see that Oakwood Shopping Center was in flames and being looted by vandals, and all that goes into the equation of his mindset of the moment that he fired his weapon."
Defense attorneys representing two of the officers charged in the shooting of six civilians at the Danziger Bridge said their defenses will largely center on the contention that the shootings were justified -- that officers believed they were under fire.
"They weren't shooting looters. They were shooting at people who they thought were shooting at them," said Lindsay Larson III, one of the attorneys representing former officer Robert Faulcon.
Frank DeSalvo, attorney for Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, also accused of shooting people on the eastern side of the bridge, agreed. "Certainly, no one's defense is that martial law had been declared and we should shoot looters. They did what they did based upon what they were faced with at the time they arrived at the bridge," he said.
But DeSalvo left open the possibility that he would use Mendoza's statement, perhaps as a way to explain the environment in which officers were forced to make decisions.
"That is part of the information that they had with respect to the lawlessness in the city. People being shot and being raped. Supposed armed gangs of people running around shooting people," DeSalvo said. "It is relevant with how the fear was running through the department that a chief would say that. When he says, we have to take our streets back, that is what we are talking about. The streets had been taken away by armed gangs."
ProPublica's Lisa Schwartz, Sheelagh McNeill and Nicholas Kusnetz contributed to this report. View the original story at www.propublica.org/nola

 


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