Witnesses: New Orleans Cops Took Rolex Watches, Jewelry

CNN, Sept. 30

NEW ORLEANS—Four New Orleans police officers have been suspended and one has been reassigned over allegations of looting in the chaos after Hurricane Katrina, acting Police Superintendent Warren Riley said.

The city’s police department is investigating reports that at least 12 police officers may have gone on a looting spree in the days after the storm hit.

The probe began after police officials reviewed videos from news reports, Riley said.

“The investigation does show police officers with some items,” Riley said, but some of the officers took essential items such as food and clothing, which they needed to carry out their jobs.

Meanwhile, Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti Jr. acknowledged his office was investigating “two separate incidents of potential looting by law enforcement” but would not identify the jurisdictions involved.

The officers are alleged to have taken non-essential items like televisions or jewelry or to not have acted against looting.

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On Friday, New Orleans District Attorney Eddie Jordan said Compass’ resignation did not appear to be linked to the looting investigation.

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One incident that Foti’s probe is focusing on took place at Amerihost Inn and Suites just days after the storm hit, said police spokesman Capt. Marlon DeFillo. It was captured on tape by a reporter from WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge and a photographer from WAFF-TV in Huntsville, Alabama.

Officials viewed the TV news video showing an officer reaching for a gun as he blocked media from a door to the 10th floor, where he and seven other police officers were thought to be staying, DeFillo said .(See the video behind the investigation—3:50)

The hotel’s owner, Osman Khan, told CNN that on the night of August 29, when the city flooded, 70 police officers had moved into his Canal Street hotel. He said that 62 went out to fight looters and thugs on the streets, while eight launched a four-day drinking and looting binge.

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