Insurgent citizens: the manufacture of police records in post-Katrina New Orleans and its implications for human rights
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- Drake, J.M. Arch Sci (2014) 14: 365. doi:10.1007/s10502-014-9224-2
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Inquiries into allegations of human rights abuses require a reliable corpus of evidence to proceed and hold violators accountable for their actions. The following article analyzes the 2005 police shootings that occurred on New Orleans’ Danziger Bridge in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a case that illustrates the challenges confronting investigations into human rights violations in the USA. By examining an investigative police report, two survivors’ civil complaints, and federal court filings, the article argues that the methodical nature in which several police officers in post-Katrina New Orleans conspired to document the use of deadly force against several unarmed citizens demonstrates that police records created in the context of officer-involved shootings inhibit accountability processes as much as they facilitate them. The deliberate creation of such records, the article concludes, impairs the ability of a democratic nation to ensure human rights and bring their violators to account.