Responding to an investigation published in The Nation into vigilante violence after Hurricane Katrina, Rep. John Conyers Jr. issued a public statement Thursday, expressing concern. The investigation details how, after the storm struck, some white residents in the Algiers Point neighborhood of New Orleans repeatedly attacked African-American men.
In interviews, eyewitnesses–including some of the vigilantes themselves and two men who were blasted with a shotgun–describe a string of shootings in which at least eleven people were wounded or killed. A video accompanying the report features interviews with some of the vigilantes, including one who says, “It was great! It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it.”
“I am deeply disturbed by the reported incidents in Algiers Point, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina,” said Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, and chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
Algiers Point residents, Conyers continued, “allegedly shot randomly at African Americans who had fled to the area escaping the effects of the storm. Several injuries and deaths were reported. I am particularly concerned about accounts that local police fueled, rather than extinguished, the violence.”
Also, Color of Change, California-based activist group, launched an online campaign urging “Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate” the Algiers Point attacks.