Acting New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley suspended four officers without pay and put more than a dozen others under investigation for reported behavior after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The investigations stem from events during which the officers were accused of looting, or failed to combat looting, Riley said. “I want to reaffirm my position that there is zero tolerance for misconduct and unprofessionalism by any member of this department,” he said.
Beyond allegations of looting, tribunals are in the works for 249 officers who were allegedly not on active duty during the storm or immediately after it. Compass came under fire for hyping reports of crime and violence among desperate survivors stranded after the storm, reports that were believable at the time but were subsequently shown to be overblown. Riley emphasized that not all of the officers who left their posts were deserters. Some of the 249 officers who failed to make their slated roll calls may have been working in other areas. Some cops missed roll calls because they, like thousands of other residents, were trapped. Those officers should not be branded quitters or cowards, Riley said. Riley confirmed that officers patrolled the city after the storm in Cadillacs, a case being reviewed by the Louisiana attorney general. “There were some officers who did use Cadillacs, they actually patrolled the city in Cadillacs,” Riley said. “It was done with the greatest intent.”