From an extensive Pro Publica report released today:
In the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, an order circulated among New Orleans police authorizing officers to shoot looters, according to present and former members of the department. It's not clear how broadly the order was communicated.
Some officers who heard it say they refused to carry it out. Others say they understood it as a fundamental change in the standards on deadly force, which allow police to fire only to protect themselves or others from what appears to be an imminent physical threat.
The accounts of orders to "shoot looters," "take back the city," or "do what you have to do" are fragmentary.
After Katrina, New Orleans Cops Were Told They Could Shoot Looters
(a ProPublica story reported by Sabrina Shankman and Tom Jennings of Frontline, Brendan McCarthy and Laura Maggi of The New Orleans Times-Picayune and A.C. Thompson of ProPublica)
Image: This was taken by freelance photographer Marko Georgiev. "There is no police report describing what happened in this photo."
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: email@example.com.