Fight lawlessness with lawlessness? New Orleans police were authorized to shoot looters amid the chaos after Hurricane Katrina, according to an investigation by ProPublica and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Cops, some of whom refused to carry out the order, saw it as a sweeping change from accepted standards for using deadly force, which was usually allowed when police felt under immediate physical threat. Eleven civilians were shot in the hurricane’s aftermath, though only one was stealing at the time. Where the orders originated is unclear. As the flood waters devastated the city, there was much confusion among authorities as to whether martial law had been instated. A documentary about the post-Katrina shootings will air on PBS’s Frontline Wednesday night.
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