RACE RELATIONS BLOG: Thursday, September 29, 2005

Thursday, September 29, 2005

New Orleans Police "Looting Ring" confirmed (video here)

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Four New Orleans police officers have been suspended and one has been reassigned over allegations of looting in the chaos after Hurricane Katrina, acting Police Superintendent Warren Riley said Thursday.

One incident that Foti's probe is focusing on took place at Amerihost Inn and Suites just days after the storm hit, said police spokesman Capt. Marlon DeFillo. It was captured on tape by a reporter from WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge and a photographer from WAFF-TV in Huntsville, Alabama.

Officials viewed the TV news video showing an officer reaching for a gun as he blocked media from a door to the 10th floor, where he and seven other police officers were thought to be staying, DeFillo said (See the video behind the investigation)

The hotel's owner, Osman Khan, told CNN that on the night of August 29, when the city flooded, 70 police officers had moved into his Canal Street hotel. He said that 62 went out to fight looters and thugs on the streets, while eight launched a four-day drinking and looting binge.

"They'd leave [at] nine or 10 at night and come back 4:30 in the morning," carrying "everything from Adidas shoes to Rolex watches," Khan said.