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New Orleans mobilizes against police murder of Adolph Grimes

January 8, 2009

by Darwin Bond-Graham

Protesters marched outside the NOPD station Thursday morning, Jan. 8, with signs that demand “Justice for Adolph Grimes III” and “Self-Determination for the African-American Nation.” At the same time in Oakland, California, protesters packed the BART board meeting to demand justice for Oscar Grant, another 22-year-old Black father executed by police in the early hours of New Year’s Day. – Photo: Darwin Bond-Graham
Protesters marched outside the NOPD station Thursday morning, Jan. 8, with signs that demand “Justice for Adolph Grimes III” and “Self-Determination for the African-American Nation.” At the same time in Oakland, California, protesters packed the BART board meeting to demand justice for Oscar Grant, another 22-year-old Black father executed by police in the early hours of New Year’s Day. – Photo: Darwin Bond-Graham
About two dozen citizens gathered outside of the 2nd District police headquarters at 7:30 this morning to condemn the slaying of Adolph Grimes III by a gang of New Orleans police officers. They are calling for a more vigorous investigation into Grimes’ death and greater accountability for police officers all the way up to the chief of police.

Grimes, a 22 year-old New Orleans native, living in Houston since Katrina, was back visiting family for the New Year’s holiday. In the early hours of Jan. 1, an unmarked police vehicle filled with plain-clothes officers swooped in on Grimes as he was waiting for a relative in his parked car outside of his grandmother’s house. They were headed to an Uptown night club.

A hail of gunfire ensued. Grimes was hit 14 times, 12 in the back, according to early reports from the New Orleans coroner. Police claim it was a “gun battle” and that after the incident is investigated the shooting will be justified. Few community members have confidence in the police department’s account, and with good reason.

Grimes’ family and friends describe him as a law abiding citizen and proud father of an 18-month-old baby. The NOPD, however, has already begun spreading subtle character misinformation about Grimes to prejudice the case and steer public opinion away from sympathy with the victim. Police note that Grimes was carrying a hand gun and claim that a later search of his vehicle turned up a shotgun and “high velocity” magazine clips.

Police Chief Warren Riley and Assistant Superintendent Marlon Delfillo held one press conference about the police killing by lining up 9mm cartridge pistol clips and Grimes’ handgun on a table next to their podium to imply the victim’s deservedness of the police attack. Ironically, the bullets numbered 19, just five more than entered Grimes’ body and probably fewer than the total hail of bullets that struck him down.

Grimes’ family and community leaders point out that he had a permit for the hand gun. The shotgun turned up in a search that wasn’t conducted until days after the killing, casting doubt on the conduct of the investigation so far. Some in the community believe the shotgun was planted. Furthermore, NOPD’s Chief Warren Riley has so far declined to state whether Grimes’ weapon and hands have been tested for gunpower residue.

Even so, if Grimes fired on the police it would prove very little. Few believe the NOPD or other city officials are capable of investigating their own officers. Grimes’ family called the FBI to lodge a civil rights complaint days after the shooting. The FBI has now opened its own investigation.

The fact that an unmarked car filled with plain-clothes officers moved in so quickly and aggressively on an otherwise innocent Black man raises serious questions about the intent and conduct of the officers. A group of New Orleans ministers described the conduct of the officers as “trigger happy.” The Times-Picayune described the gang of officers involved as an undercover narcotics unit including three women and six men: “They were dressed like tourists, and the women would pose as ‘decoys’ – potential victims – for robbers.”

Many New Orleanians carry a weapon as protection against possible muggers. If Grimes fired – which is still not proven – it was likely to protect himself from an attack by a car filled with suspicious and hostile looking armed strangers in “street clothes.” Police Chief Riley admitted in one news conference that “I don’t know if he knew they were police when the first shot was fired” but reiterated the department’s claim that Grimes fired first.

Community leaders gathered outside the police station today say Grimes was straight up murdered and that a full investigation can only be the beginning of bringing his killers to justice.

Sadly, within hours of Grimes’ slaying at the hands of the NOPD, another young Black man was shot by police in Oakland, California. Videos of Oscar Grant’s murder have circulated widely on the internet. Dozens of transit riders witnessed Grant being shot execution style in the back by an officer.

Last night Oakland erupted in rebellion as youths marched in the streets. Their demonstration ended with police firing rubber bullets and tear gas on the protestors who destroyed police vehicles in retaliation.

So far the response in New Orleans has been more subdued, even though the community is filled with outrage. Protestors at today’s demonstration at one point chanted, “No justice, no peace!” Organizers of today’s protest say there will be another demonstration next Thursday.

Darwin Bond-Graham can be reached at darwin@riseup.net or through his blog, http://darwinbondgraham.blogspot.com/.

10 thoughts on “New Orleans mobilizes against police murder of Adolph Grimes

  1. warren stowe

    The great humanist and intellectual from Martinque, Aimé Césaire, once said, “The fact that justice is blind / is a thing to which we blacks are wise / her bandage hides two festering sores / that once perhaps were eyes.”

    The deaths of Adolph Grimes, Oscar Grant, Oury Jalloh (see below) and many, many others obeys a logic whose foundations go back to the days of slavery and colonialism. As such, the racism and racial oppression behind this logic has long been set in law. More importantly, however, the effects of this unpardonable continuation of barbarity have been felt in the skins of too many beautiful people whose lives were robbed from them by a system which has long since banned all those deemed unworthy (i.e. all non-whites) from humanity.

    A woman speaking on CNN about the crime against humanity involving the murder of oscar grant emphasized that she belongs to a community which will not permit these crimes to continue. Another man, the father of Adolph Grimes, reacted to the “Blue Wall” (wall of silence) erected by the police: It will fall like the walls of Jericho.

    In Germany, an equally tragic barbarity took the life of Oury Jalloh, who was illegally detained on the early morning hours of January 7, 2005. Hours later firefighters found a charcoaled corpse chained to a fireproof mattress.

    Since that time the refugees and migrants of Germany have fought four long years for truth and justice. And although the truth still remains hidden as to the true circumstances surrounding Oury Jalloh’s murder, their cry of BREAK THE SILENCE and demands of truth, justice and reparations have successfully unmasked the horror hiding behind the white mask of democracy, human rights and alleged superiority.

    For more information please watch this video:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8238640172468957863

    In the end, the walls of Jericho will never be torn down by the slave-drivers. It is the people, humanity, who will be required to take back their humanity.

    BREAK THE SILENCE!

    TRUTH! JUSTICE! REPARATIONS!

    Reply
  2. red

    The poor punk was killed his recorded a mile long and a gun in his hand. Should we feel bad hell no way need to clean the streets up because of scumbags……..

    Reply
  3. keina

    Red is a complete crackhead!!! STOP SMOKING…. I have a right as a citizen to carry a gun and protect myself. Just like the dead guy from N.O. The police are the scum bags. They harass,and kill at will and then use their badge to get away with it. Those police officers deserve to go to jail and feel loss just like that boy’s damily

    Reply
  4. emily

    Red, Grimes had no record and was legally carrying the gun with a permit. Police say he fired on them first, but won’t produce the gun or any evidence to prove it. This is a racist murder. NOPD are corrupt and abusive, and they terrorize black folks. And murder them. Indiscriminately.

    Reply
  5. P-nut

    I’d be a lot more concerned with black on black murder in New Orleans than the once in a blue moon killing by cops.Everyone says that their son was an angel when the news shows up, what’s up with the gun and the shotgun with extra rounds in the trunk? There is more here than meets the eye. Not saying that the police in New Orleans aren’t bad, they are, but I will say this, young black men in New Orleans are the biggest problem, to themselves and everyone else. I’m black too and it makes me mad, we have to clean up our own house andquit crying about “thw white man”, we’re our own worst enemies.

    Reply
  6. raycar

    Several years ago the federal government was going to take over the NO police department because it was so corrupt. It is time to do this. This department is a disgrace to our country and a clear and present danger to the citizens of NO as well as its visitors.
    raycar – San Jose, CA

    Reply
  7. Lina

    He had no record. He had a legal permit to have that weapon. You have no idea what the situation is where he lives (is there a lot of muggings/murders? are there gangs?).

    Think of it this way. You drive into your grandmother’s driveway and park your car. It’s late at night. A bunch of punks are wandering around at night, and really, who does that? It’s one thing to be driving home that late; it’s another to be in a gang of people wandering around peoples’ homes that late. They walk up to your car. You, who probably has never been in that situation before but think you’re prepped to take on this kind of situation, pull out your gun and point it at them in what you hope is a threatening enough manner to frighten them off without getting you or your family killed. They open fire, and you run like hell because you weren’t ready for that. They keep firing on you as you run away. You die.

    Remember that these were nine PLAINS CLOTHED officers out at near midnight.

    I would be FREAKED THE **** OUT if I saw that at my apartment building. Hell, I’m freaked out when I see even one or two unfamiliar people there (and it’s a big complex, so I know, logically, I can’t know everyone there…still freaks me out at night). It’s easy to be a tough guy on the Internet, not so much when you’re in a situation like that where you don’t, really, know WTF is going on, or WTF to do despite apparently having some training in using a gun.

    I’d say it’s more similar to those people who get a gun permit, have their gun by their bed, then totally screw the pooch when their home is invaded and just get themselves killed. Cops in plains clothes who don’t identify themselves aren’t any better than that in my book, because you have too many stories of them failing to identify themselves and then using their status as cop to defend themselves when they screw things up. And it’s pretty easy for someone with a gun permit and a gun to think they could actually defend themselves in a Real Life situation, like having a bunch of punks trying to, I dunno, carjack you? Mug you? What, exactly, would you think in that situation?

    It’s like blaming the girl and dad for assaulting the undercover cops who tried to drag the girl into an unmarked car without identifying themselves. Well, gee, WTF do you think they thought? I don’t think: oh, these guys must be cops. I think, OMG PEDOPHILES RUN.

    When a bunch of plainclothes dudes come up to me in my car, I don’t think: Oh, these must be cops. I think something really bad is about to happen. I don’t have a gun, but even though I realize I’d probably fail at using it properly in such a situation, you can bet I’d wish I had the foresight to get a permit and gun when that happens. As it is, at best I’d have my windshield scraper.

    Reply
  8. Linda

    OMG, the cops of New Orleans have had a murderous rep for years. The cops there have done some murders a lot of which are now maybe cold case files . I have seen TV shows about these NOTORIOUS KILLERS . I wonder if there is a crime that they have not done ?

    Reply
  9. rip adolph

    r.i.p adolph i knew him well,a cool dude. he was a smart and articulate dude man, he had so much potential to be something in life, i use to tell him all the time to stay outta trouble n stay outta the streets, because he had a lil boy he needed to take care of and be there for.. dirty coppers dont never think b4 they act! what do u expect a man to do when a bunch of ppl just roll up on u in new orleans! think abt it, he lived in htown since katrina but he still has a new orleans man mentality! so when he got to the n.o, sure enuff that mentality kicked in! he was from the 9th ward and their motto is “Im from da 9 and i dont mind dying!” so his first reaction i can bet was ” damn im not in houston any more, im in the n.o, and in the n.o when a n***a roll up on u at 3am it aint to ask for directions to the nearest gas station!” so he reacted how he knew best, he pulled his heat! the same thing any other person that fears their life would do! and knowing adolph, i can even see his facial expression when he was pullin the trigger, he use to tell me all the time how he wasnt scared to use his gun if necessary, and i use to say “i believe u adolph”..lol,he use to pull that same gun he was found dead wit, out around me, i use to say ” boy put that s**t away when u around me!” lol and he use to laugh and smile.. we had sum memories good and bad, lol if he was still here he would know what i was talkin about..he will be truely missed..my condolences go out to his family, friends and baby momma. r.i.p adolph.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Yeah, the Feds should take over the NO police department. The 60 day murder rule and all this violence are still not being reigned in. They need to be “tougher on crime,” and also arrest all the corrupt politicians, judges, cops, etc who do sketchy things like this. If the whole system is screwed up, then just throw it out and get a better system.

    Reply

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