Monday, January 31, 2011

NOPD - Caught in the Lies

One of the issues we face, historically, with the NOPD, is the reclassification of crimes.

This means they change the name of the act to a lesser charge in order to keep statistics down & favorable.

Both the NOPD & Chief Ronal Serpas have been accused of this, here & in Nashville, respectively.

What follows is the exact unedited text of a crime report I received today (1/31/2011) from NOLA Alerts, regarding a crime in the 5th District. Please read it carefully:

"On Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 3:50 am, Detective Michael Sinegar, assigned to the Fifth District Investigative Unit, had the occasion to investigate an Aggravated Battery by Shooting which occurred at the intersection of St. Claude Avenue and Tupelo Street. Detective Augustus relocated to the hospital to speak to the victim at which time he stated the following:

On Saturday, January 29, 2011, at about 3:50 a.m., he was driving his vehicle on St. Claude

Avenue toward St. Bernard Parish when he approached the intersection of

Tupelo Street he came to a stop at the traffic light. During that time he noticed a vehicle (Older Model Red Nissan) suddenly stopped in the left lane several feet behind his vehicle. Moments later, an unknown black male exited the front passenger door of his vehicle and approached him. The unknown black male then pointed a dark semi-automatic handgun at him (victim) and stated “What you got give me your money.” At that time the victim made an attempt to flee the scene by stepping on the accelerator. The unknown black male then fired several shots at the victim, striking him once to the right side of his face and once to the right upper arm.

The victim described the perpetrator as a black male, who was possibly in his mid- twenties,

approximately 5’10” in height, weighing about 160 pounds. He wore a black t-shirt and dark pants. He had his hair in shoulder length dreads."

Please note that the crime is listed as "Aggravated Battery by Shooting" which will no doubt be downgraded to Aggravated Battery' at a later time. Even if it is not, "Aggravated Battery by Shooting" implies that the attacker meant to 'batter' the victim. From Wikipedia:

Acts most often defined under aggravated battery are:

  • use of a deadly weapon
  • battery in which serious bodily injury occurs, and
  • battery against a child, woman or police officer.

While this certainly includes use of a deadly weapon, & serious bodily injury did occur, where is the robbery attempt in this, clearly an attempted armed robbery? The fact that the victim was shot in the face, as he fled, would lead one to believe that the bullet was an intended head shot, or attempted murder.

Yet here it is: Aggravated Battery.

Or complete lies & bullshit, depending on whether someone shot a round through your face, or you're a cop trying to keep your crime stats down so as not to get fired, or worse, incur the wrath of City Hall, who would love everyone to believe that it's hunky dory over here in the 5th District.

These lies go on daily & unchecked.

Speak out against corruption & demand an accurate accounting of these crimes, so we may receive the proper protection the NOPD is supposed to be providing, rather than a down grading of these crimes to meet the specifications Chief Serpas claims we have met.

Email Chief Serpas directly at:

Ask him to investigate the 5th District & Commander Bernadine Kelly, as well as answer for the thug & bully behavior exhibited by this branch of the NOPD.

Do it today.

Your life may depend on it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It Take More Than a Press Conference

I've just come from reading Liprap's, latest post on Humid City, regarding the press conference & 'Crime Meeting' held last Tuesday Night, with District Attorney Cannizzaro & Chief Serpas. It makes for interesting reading, and I recommend reading it here.

But the general drift, again, is what we, as citizens, must do to end crime.

Personally, I'm sickened by the level of crime, particularly violent crime, sweeping our city. I'm particularly sick to death of the talk of how we must understand this comes from the lack of education, low quality of life, blah, blah, blah.

Of course it does. But how in the hell are any of us going to change the educational system shredded by our elected officials, or improve the all important 'quality of life' issues that lead to this level of disregard for human life, when we can't get a damn street light repaired for five years?

My response to her post, to the City of New Orleans, to Superintendent Serpas, is copied below.

I'd like you to read that, too. Please do what you can to help. Even if that means missing the very emotionally rewarding meetings to stay home and call City Hall, write letters, blog away and draw attention to the fact that no matter what we do or how hard we try, traffic stops, press announcements and throwing up ones hands does NOT protect a city from armed killers.


My comment, reposted here:


This is truly a heartbreaking situation. Again.

I sat at a Silence is Violence meeting next to Dinerral Shavers Mother. Friends & neighbors of Helen Hill, myself included, were there. Speeches & assurances were made.

Now we have a New Superintendent, Ronal Serpas. Speeches & assurances again, all around. Again. This is truly a heartbreaking situation.

I’m not going to delve into the ramifications of Sheriff Gusman’s “celebrating the great work of (Gusman’s) employees”. The inmate death toll there, particularly of those with unmet mental health issues, speaks volumes to us all, about both Sheriff Gusman, and Bobby Jindal, who ripped mental health care out of New Orleans like he was stealing gold from a living tooth…

When Ronal Serpas entered the Final Running For Police Chief, as we all knew he would, I posted several articles and links on this very blog site regarding his technique of law enforcement in Nashville.

I suggest anyone curious as to what will happen here go back & read up….

Endless traffic stops & DUI Arrests out the Ying Yang. (Not that that’s a bad thing. My dad was killed by a drunk driver)

Lots of ‘quality of life’ citations. General Barney Fife law enforcement, designed to nab the bad guys when they inevitably fall into one of these stops. Or in the latest case, drive the wrong way up a one way street, a virtual no-brainer for any cop on patrol.

Now, there’s that phrase we don’t hear so much. Cop on Patrol.

In fact, the word ‘cop’ comes from the English ‘Constable On Patrol’. It might be time they started doing it. Again.

Helen Hill’s killer, never caught, escaped on foot. I’m guessing into the then empty Universal Furniture Building that later housed the 5th District Headquarters. I live next door, and to my knowledge, they didn’t look in there that day, even though it’s 50 yards away.

Wendy Byrne’s killers, 3 kids between 14 & 16, were also walking the streets, carrying around a 9mm handgun they couldn’t wait to use.

The recent series of serial rapes in the St Roch area, culminating with the assassination style murder of Jon ‘Flee’ Hall, were committed by Cedric Berryhill, another psychotically dangerous pedestrian.

The recent armed robberies that have plagued the St Roch & Marigny neighborhoods, as well as Frenchman St, were carried out by a 16 year old perp on a bicycle.

This list, that I can recall off the top of my head, is far to long to list here. My research shows there are too many to make it possible to remember them all. For me, anyway.

Truth be told, I’d rather not.

I’d rather sit blissfully ignorant in my car, playing on my lap top, like so many cops are seen doing in the 5th District. I’d rather be short & mean on the phone, so I don’t have to talk to anyone, like whoever the hell it is that answers at the 5th District. I’d rather be hanging out with a half dozen of my buddies, shooting the breeze and GETTING PAID FOR IT, like these 5th District cops caught video in the Marigny:

Instead, I track crime reports & repost them on Face Book. My friends & neighbors all exchange text messages when there’s an obvious threat.

In fact, we were doing just that, when the 5th District issued a call to ‘help in the manhunt’ that lead to Cedric Berryhill’s arrest. So we joined in. You can see in the linked video exactly what the Constables On Patrol were doing… Running their mouths in the street past midnight, six cars strong, waking up the locals with their profanity laden bullshit.

And the people who filmed it remain anonymous because they fear for their lives.

So, truth be told, I’d rather not have Ronal Serpas’ job either. It must be a nightmare. I can’t imagine the depth of anxiety he must feel every time somebody else gets killed.

On the other hand, I don’t think he really understands the depth of horror felt by the mothers of Alvin Crosby & Dinerral Shavers.

I don’t think he ever will, in fact, I certainly hope not.

But until he’s willing to admit that there are full blown thugs & bullies out here, wearing the uniform of the NOPD, still, he’s lost the fight.

Until he’s ready to teach a multitude of lazy city employees to GET OUT OF THEIR CARS AND PATROL, walking the very streets where we walk, to & from work, with wives & husbands, sons & daughters, well, Barny Fife law enforcement, with a peppering of criminal bullies wearing badges, is the best we can expect.

As for the citizens of the Marigny & St Roch, we’re DOING our part, while the NOPD, right on up to Mitch’s Favorite Bro, Ronal Sherpas, is failing. And he’s failing with the same techniques his critics in Nashville warned us would fail, before he ever got started.

Please, don’t tell me ‘it’s less than a year’. It’s also close to a year and they're still complaining about him in Nashville.

NOPD – DO YOUR JOBS & STOP PUSHING PEOPLE AROUND. Otherwise, you’re the problem, too.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oh, and by the way....

Dear Humans; Please stop fucking killing each other over politics, greed, race, oil, the name of god, skin color, language barriers & every other stupid little thing. It does nothing whatsoever to solve any of the many problems we all collectively face. Truthfully, you never really wanted this, either.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NOPD - 5th District takes it to the Streets

The video clip shown here was filmed on Thursday night, December 16th, at about midnight, near the intersection of St Roch & Burgundy Streets, in the 5th District. Portions of the video have been briefly blacked out to protect the identity of the Film Photographer. The person who shot this footage (and shall remain anonymous) reported the incident as follows: An NOPD cruiser pulled over a vehicle on St Roch Avenue, and was joined, almost immediately by five other NOPD cruisers, for a total of six patrol cars. Obviously, at least one NOPD officer was in each vehicle (in uniform) and I'm told there may have been seven officers total. The car they pulled over was allowed to leave. For the next 20 to 25 minutes, these same patrol cars, all six of them, remained in the same position on St Roch @ Burgundy, with all of the officers out of their vehicles, talking loudly, laughing, sometimes shouting and, as you'll hear, being rather liberal with their profanity, 'Mother Fucker' being the most popular phrase of choice. Having been awakened by this, the Film Photographer, listened for that 20 - 25 minutes BEFORE beginning to shoot this footage. The incident ended when the officers received another call and went on their way. I am concerned of course, that 'Peace Officers' of the NOPD would hold such a loud, profanity ridden gathering in the street, at midnight, in a residential area, as though they were having a party in someones yard. Further concern is due to snippets of conversation, in which one officer brags about driving without his lights on, headed to a bar, because "fuck it, there ain't no traffic out." What I find truly shocking here is this: Just the night before, a network of local citizens were burning up the phone lines talking about Taylor's home invasion, his girl friend's rape, a rape/kidnapping reported to have taken place on the 8th of this month. I, myself, called the 5th District on the 15th, and got nothing but run around. A week later, Jonathon Hall was murdered by the same thugs who had attacked Taylor & his girlfriend. This is how the investigative patrols looked, as far as we can tell. If there is a reasonable explanation for this behavior, I'd love to hear it. So, it seems as local citizens were struggling to put together some sort of community based crime prevention, and are being shut out by the 5th District, these six patrol cars & six officers on duty and on the clock... are having a party, waking up the neighbors. How much ground can six patrol cars cover in 30 minutes? I'm told that an officers right to use deadly force is when an aggressive suspect gets within 21 feet, as it can be traversed in mere seconds. Think, then, of how much ground could be covered by six automobiles in 30 MINUTES. Then ask yourself, if this is the 5th District 'On Patrol', how much faith do you have in the NOPD when no one can see them at all....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Art Signing @ Skull Club - Saturday, 1/8/11 - 9pm

This signing features the 'New Atlantian' by New Orleans artist, Howard Coates. The original painting, still on display @ Skull Club, is Acrylic on Canvas - 60 x 72 inches, has caught the eyes of more than a few. Now available as a high quality print, suitable for framing, now you can get yours SIGNED BY THE ARTIST. At 18 x 24 inches, digitally mastered & faithfully reprinted by offset process, on 100 lb, UV resistant, gloss paper stock, these posters are now available in limited edition quantities. Just $20, signed by the artist, this night only! Live music courtesy of Doc Otis & The Junker Jazz Allstars. Also starring Noomoon's Dan Sheridan as the Bartender, with his very lovely assistant, Miss Bacon. Doors open - 9pm until Midnight

Monday, January 3, 2011

Open Letter to the City of New Orleans: Crime in the Streets - Part 2

It started with a short warning posted on Face Book. DJ Tracheotomy posted it, and asked others to share the horrible news: Armed, masked men were invading homes, kidnapping people from their door steps, committing rape, acts of torture, robbery, etc. right here in our little neighborhood. Except it's not really so little. The 5th district is the largest police district in the City of New Orleans, so Captain Bernardine W. Kelly of the 5th District has told me, at their Nonpac meetings. It stretches from Elysian Fields and Gentilly Road, all the way to Jackson Barracks, from the Mississippi River up through City Park. So it came as some surprise to me that there was little or no word of this ANYWHERE. Ensuing calls to the 5th District got the typical combative response I've come to accept from them. Had I been calling in any information on these horrible crimes, I would certainly have been put off by it. In fact, I have been robbed at gun point here, myself, while tending bar at the old Smitty's (now 'Maries') at the corner of Burgundy & St Roch. The first thing the arriving officer did was accuse me of pulling it off, myself. The fact that there were five other witnesses who all saw the short African American man with a large gun & a stocking mask stick said gun in my face meant nothing. I could have 'arranged' that. The fact that I hid, even at gun point, about $500 in cash, which I handed to the owner upon his arrival, also meant nothing. I was 'covering my tracks' it seemed. I thought I was keeping Bucky from a total loss, even at the risk of my life. Apparently not. This then, was my first lesson in dealing with the 5th District. A few years later, while checking on a friend's house while they were away, I discovered that it had been broken in to. I called the police. Several hours later, a patrol car showed up & the policeman told me we were waiting for 'The Crime Lab'. Another two hours and he left. Two more hours and a detective showed up, and fell in to a rage that anything had been touched. I explained that as soon as I realized what was going on, I stopped in my tracks, never leaving the first room. He asked me why he should believe I hadn't done it myself. Except he was screaming at me when he asked it. So, it was with no small apprehension that I tried, once again, to find out what the hell was going on by calling in to the Abbot & Costello routine that is the 5th District's standard operating procedure. I never heard from the 5th District again. I sent the exact letter you see posted below (Part 1) to everybody I could think of, hoping to shake something loose, and find out how bad it really was out there. I have, to date, received only one answer. Nothing from Kristen Palmer, our City Council person, or the Mayors office. Not a peep from the Times-picayune, or the 5th District. Nothing from ANY City of New Orleans entity of any kind. Nothing. The secretary of the Faubourg Marigny Association sent me a link to NOLAReady , a crime alert email service that bears the City of New Orleans trade mark, but yet was never referred to me by anyone at City Hall or any NOPD contacts. Thanks, Gretchen. Still, nothing appeared in the news at that time. Nothing. Word on the street spread quickly, however. It was Taylor, a well known local artist, recently returned from New York, who was grabbed, along with his girl friend, outside their home. Forced back into the house, they were robbed, and her raped, as he was made to watch. Days later, a woman was kidnapped at the intersection of Marigny & St Claude, driven around and forced to get money from ATM's. Her story is told in her own words in the comment section of my previous post. Then there was one intruder who entered the unlocked back door of a house, during a party, and robbed everyone inside. His entry through a fenced yard & back door would suggest he was watching the house. At this time, there was still no news reports of any of this. The NOLA Crime report listed Taylor's experience as 'rape', not aggravated rape, or home invasion or hostages or kidnapping, even though it was all of the above. The woman abducted at St Claude & Marigny showed (at that time, anyway) as a 'robbery'. Why not kidnapping & extortion? They certainly came into play.... Now, I have to wonder, would the news have carried these stories had the crimes been rightly cataloged? Would the publication of those stories lead to a quicker arrest? Certainly, the citizens here were ready to cooperate. There was even an impromptu meeting at Siberia, on St Claude, where sketches of one of the perpetrators were handed out. They posted one on Face Book for me to repost, simply for the asking. Why is it that the 5th District did none of these things? Had this information been widely publicized, would Jonathon Hall even have been murdered? No one can say, especially me. But I have to wonder, if there had been accurate stories of these crimes out there for all to see, maybe he wouldn't have been so willing to open his door, or leave himself unprotected. As recently as today, I have pointed to the story of the arrests associated with these crimes and Jonathon's murder, and been met with total surprise that any of this was even going on. Many people living right here on my block are still completely clueless as to this happening at all. And how could one blame them? The stories are buried in the news and the reports from the 5th District downplay every event I've heard about. Everyone in town knows the details of Magnolia Shorty's shooting and which famous rappers attended her funeral. This is in no way meant to suggest that her murder is anything less than a tragedy. It certainly is, and one of the highest order. But so is Jonathon's senseless murder over two used computers. Much has been made of the deaths of 8 kids who attended his second line, only to perish themselves in a warehouse fire. It is, as the Mayor has called it a 'terrible tragedy'. Believe me, I knew a couple of those kids, and my sorrow is deep and ongoing. Yet what would one call the murder of a 27 year old man, at the hands of kidnapping rapists & robbers, when nobody told the locals about this crime spree? First, let me agree that the press has no obligation to report anything they don't feel like reporting. Just ask Fox News. And, of course, City Hall is not responsible for what the news reports or does not report. As for the 5th District, I'm sure there will be a litany of reasons why this had to be kept secret. They answered most questions I heard at the Nonpac meetings by saying they didn't want 'criminals' to know what they were up to. I guess they think they're the KGB of the 9th ward. Of course, reports in the comment section of the previous post tell tales of cops sitting in cars, on the internet, while murders take place a half a block away. I guess I'd want to keep that secret, too. Perhaps they are more Keystone Cop than KGB, in some instances, but then again, this district is huge and riddled with violent crime problems. All the same, why not TELL US WE ARE IN DANGER? As my friend and fellow pundit, "Scott" put it: "I think it's all "Marginalized", because we aren't rich enough, white enough, and because we're largely thought of as hippies, freaks, queers or thugs on this side of town. All of the good press in every major news outlet in America doesn't sway Perdido street. They can't see over the glare of Bourbon Street." And that smacks of more Truth to me than any of these other reasons. To me, that is. In fact, I'd list a good many of those 'other reasons' in the column called 'Excuses'. I'm just glad they finally caught the guy, and didn't accuse me again. I'm holding my breath, hoping they don't drop this in to Children's Court, allowing this monster to perfect his methods for five years before setting him loose on us again. Of course, as we all know, this wasn't the first, and won't be the last violent crime spree in our neighborhood. We live in New Orleans. And we live in That Part of Town. Prospect 1 rolled through a couple of years ago, bringing promises of glory & a celebration of art. In the end, it was more about celebrating Dan Cameron's friends, who are 'Contemporary Artists' from NYC, but we got heard. Right here in the Marigny/Bywater/St Roch. Then there's the St Claude Art District, of which I am a proud member, which predates Prospect 1 by many years. The Andy Warhol Society has come to see our collective work. We've had write ups as far away as London & Australia. And of course, the New Orleans Fringe Festival, which attracts crowds to our own theater district, art scene, local restaurants & music clubs. That's right; music clubs. Because you don't have to wade the vomit on Bourbon Street, or shove your way through the hipsters now plaguing Frenchman Street, clacking along in high heels, carrying tiny dogs in purses and trying to talk the doorman down a dollar on the cover charge for the Rolex wearing 'fans'. St Claude Avenue has both music & theater, almost nightly and almost all of it great. We also have home invasion, murder, rape, torture & kidnapping to round out the regular armed robbery & shootings. What we don't have is any responsible news organization willing to speak out. And the 5th District is keeping mum on all of this. Chief Ronal Serpas & District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, however, "deem New Years Eve a resounding success." I wonder if Jonathon Hall's wife feels that way. Or Taylor's girlfriend. Because it doesn't matter if the crime stats are down, simply because nobody's talking. The same people are dead, or brutalized. Lives are destroyed, or simply ended, violently. And some of it may have been preventable. I can't honestly say what went wrong here. That would involve getting some answers, and none are forth coming. "Come to the Nonpac meetings," they cry. I've been. It was a fairly useless exercise in listing what they want us to hear. "Report crimes to keep the stats accurate." I have. And either been accused of committing it, because I was, well, breathing and within reach, or have seen a horror like home invasion, torture & rape reduced to a simple 'rape' on the crime map. That's right; a woman repeatedly raped while her boyfriend is forced to watch at gunpoint, after being kidnapped and held hostage in their own house, is listed as 'simple rape'. "Reach Out to the New City Hall." I did that, too. So far, no one has answered. "Call your City Council Person'. I sent the previous posted letter directly to Kristen Palmer's office. So far, no one has answered. There is one, very clear message in all of this; No matter what they tell you, no matter what promises they make, you are on your own. Is that the way to 'lead a city in recovery", to "create total transparency in our police department"? I really couldn't say. I keep asking. So far, no one has answered. Not a single fucking one. ___________________ NOTE: Please contact the New Orleans District Attorney's Office, to ensure that Cedric Berryhill and Darren Adams are charged as Adults for this horrifying series of crimes: Orleans Parish District Attorney Main Office (504) 822-2414 Juvenile Office (504) 566-1711 And you can submit a form email here: Thnx; LD