Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sorry, but you just can't do that...!

Two stories of bigotry and injustice out of Katrina came across my screen and are being retold.

The first tale is an old remnant from Jim Crow laws. The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) uncovered numerous cases "of housing discrimination against African-American persons displaced by Hurricane Katrina" in Texas, Alabama and Florida.

Testing (where an African-American and then a White NFHA employee tries to lease an apartment) showed that in 17 cities, leasing agents either refused to rent to African Americans or gave more favorable terms to Whites.

A press release from NFHA indicates they "conducted tests over the telephone" and in two third of the cases, "43 of 65...White callers were favored over African-American callers."

The agency has now filed "race-based housing discrimination charges" with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Dallas, Birminghan and Gainesville, Florida.

Yep, prejudice and discrimination still go on...

In other news, the two slap happy police officers who beat the dickens out of a retired elementary school teacher during Katrina in New Orleans and the policeman who proceeded to shove and browbeat an Associated Press producer as his cameraman filmed the incident have either been fired or suspended from the police force.

The two officers who used Robert Davis, a 64-year-old retired elementary school teacher as punching bag claimed Davis was publicly drunk. But Davis said he was only guilty of asking the police about a city curfew while looking for a store to buy some cigarettes.

"I haven’t had a drink in 25 years,” Davis said at the time with "stitches beneath his left eye, a bandage on his left hand and complained of soreness in his back and aches in his left shoulder.

During the ruckus, another officer saw a video rolling and told the camera man to stop filming. Rich Matthews from Associated Press Television News then reached out his arm to show Officer Stuart Smith his press credential.

Smith proceeded to toss Matthews against a nearby vehicle, "jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade." And for good measure, he told him to get the hell out of New Orleans.

So much for Cajun hospitality!

After an internal police investigation, Officers Robert Evangelist and Lance Schilling were given pink slips for their unheroic roles. For his less than genteel conduct, Smith was suspended without pay for 120 days.

All three officers face battery charges and and are due in court on January 11. In the meantime, Davis sued the city of New Orleans for violating his civil rights.

Robert Davis is also diabetic and, as such, he couldn't have been drunk as alcohol (except for very limited amounts) would have put him in his grave. From the video I saw, it looks like the officers were venting their prejudice. If they're not found guilty, something is wrong with the courts down there.
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