Tony Mitchell, a New Orleans police officer for nine years, says he was forced to make a choice: his grandmother or his honor as a police officer, reports the Washington Post. Mitchell was listed as one of nearly 400 police missing from their posts (of a force of 1,750) after Hurricane Katrina. Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III said he does not know why so many police officers remain missing. Some may have died or still cannot reach their stations, he said.
Mitchell, 35. spent six days trying to patrol the hellhole of the Louisiana Superdome evacuation center after the storm. When he heard that his mother, 76, and grandmother, 103, were in a hospital, he hurried to retrieve them and move them to a relative’s home. His supervisor called his cell phone. “He told me it was very noble and honorable to take care of my grandmother, but if I was not at roll call in 10 minutes, I was fired.” Until charges are formally brought, he is back on the force but assigned to handing out used clothes to fellow officers still working round the clock. Capt. Marlon Defillo, a police spokesman, said, “Once this whole crisis is over, we will have an opportunity to evaluate each one on a case-by-case basis.”