James Varney and Walt Philbin, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Oct. 7
Acting New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said Thursday that as many as 40 officers from the department’s 3rd District, including the commanding captain, are “under scrutiny” for possibly bolting the city in the clutch and heading to Baton Rouge in Cadillacs from a New Orleans dealership.
Last week, after reports surfaced that the Louisiana attorney general’s office was investigating the alleged theft of about 200 cars from Sewell Cadillac Chevrolet, possibly by NOPD officers, Riley revealed his own internal investigations. All told, Riley said 12 officers were under investigation for looting or failing to combat looting in their presence, four officers had been suspended and one had been reassigned.
He acknowledged then that an unspecified number of officers were being looked at for their alleged involvement in the Sewell incident, which took place in the first four days after Katrina ripped through town.
Riley said he was surprised to learn that “at least 40” 3rd District officers were in Baton Rouge after the hurricane. Riley said that at some point after a number of 3rd District teams were rescued from the Louisiana State University Dental School he spoke to clumps of them at the Hampton Inn and Suites on Convention Center Boulevard.
“At that point they were just settling in for the evening,” he said. “A day or so later we learned they were in Baton Rouge, and they were immediately ordered to return to the city.”