Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Exclusive Video of Police Harassment of Mardi Gras Indians

On Monday, journalist Katy Reckdahl ran a powerful story in the Times-Picayune exposing police harassment of Mardi Gras Indians in Central City on Mardi Gras Day. For many community members, this revived memories of previous police harassment, especially on St. Joseph's Night of 2005, when police broke up the Indian tradition by driving through at high speeds, cursing at and threatening Indians and others, and even making arrests.

Below is exclusive video of the Mardi Gras day police harassment of Mardi Gras Indians described in Reckdahl's story. The footage - shot from a cel phone - is very low-resolution and shaky, but it documents the chaos, sirens, and overall atmosphere of terror generated on that day.

The video was shot by Michelle Conerly, a certified nursing assistant who lives on the block the incident occurred. Conerly also managed to write down the car numbers of six of the seven police cars who caused the panic (the seventh was a black undercover car).

The police car numbers were 603, 903, 609, 0088, 03076 and 01020.

In a recent interview, Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu has said our city needs “a complete culture change in the New Orleans Police Department." A good first step would be to bring respect for New Orleans' cultural traditions to the police department.

Police Brutality of Mardi Gras Indians from Lily Keber on Vimeo.

Thanks to local filmmaker Lily Keber for her help in posting the video online.

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