Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The Louisiana ACLU has asked the United States Department of Justice to investigate the blocking off of the Crescent City Connection to Katrina evacuees in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Director Joe Cook wrote a formal letter to the agency to ask that an investigation be launched into the “Gretna Bridge Incident.”
Gretna Police Chief Arthur Lawson Jr., has previously defended his department’s actions in preventing evacuees from entering Jefferson Parish’s west bank in the days after the storm.
Lawson said evacuees had been wrongly informed that there were supplies and shelter on the west bank. Gretna officials also noted that they had helped hundreds of people evacuate before feeling overwhelmed.
Cook contends both the bridge blocking and the weapon firing were illegal.
“I believe this incident was a gross violation of the rights of the fleeing people,” he said. “And, the police may have committed unlawful acts when they used potentially deadly force against unarmed civilians.”