Monday, January 12, 2009

New Orleans Native Shot 12 Times In The Back By New Orleans Police On New Year's Day...

CNN Video: 22 Year Old Adolph Grimes III Shot 14 Times By Police

Family Wants Police Charged In New Orleans Killing

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) — As fireworks exploded over the Big Easy on New Year’s Eve, 22-year-old Adolph Grimes III pulled up to his grandmother’s home near the French Quarter after a five-hour drive from Houston, Texas.

Adolph Grimes Jr., with grandson Chris, wife Patricia and his son's fiancee, Shae Whitfield, want answers.

Grimes, who relocated to Texas with his fiancĂ©e, Shae Whitfield, after Hurricane Katrina, couldn’t wait to get home with their 17-month-old son, Chris, and ring in the new year with friends and family.

“He made it at 12 o’clock exact, with a second to spare,” said his father, Adolph Grimes Jr.

Three hours later, Grimes lay dying on the sidewalk half a block from his grandmother’s front door, with fireworks giving way to the hue of flashing police lights.

The Orleans Parish coroner said Grimes was shot 14 times, including 12 times in the back.

Grimes had just walked out of the house and was in a car waiting for his cousin, according to family members, when nine plainclothes officers — part of an undercover narcotics task force driving around New Orleans on New Year’s Eve — surrounded Grimes’ vehicle.

Shots rang out; New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said Grimes shot at police first.

The Grimes family disagrees, saying police executed a loved one as he ran for his life.

“It was like someone was a murderer, and they finally caught him,” said Grimes’ mother, Patricia. “I ain’t ever seen anything like this. And the worst part about it was I had to wait for the 5 o’clock news to find out my son was murdered.”

Shortly after finding out about the death, the family contacted the FBI to investigate alleged wrongdoing by police officers in the shooting.

“We are hoping for a thorough investigation by the NOPD [New Orleans Police Department] and the district attorney’s office,” said the family’s attorney, Robert Jenkins. ” We know the FBI is going to do a fully complete investigation. We are hoping that criminal charges will be brought against all of these officers for the execution in this case.”

Riley agreed that all the facts need to be released.

“We think that families should do everything they can do make sure this investigation is as thorough and complete as possible so they know the truth,” he said.

Nine police officers were reassigned afterward, but New Orleans police aren’t commenting on the case. The police also declined to release the names of the officers and the shooting report, saying the investigation is ongoing, both internally and with the FBI.

Family members said they want to know why officers descended on a young man with no criminal record, who graduated from one of the most prestigious high schools in the city.

“This violence has to stop. My child’s death will not be meaningless. He did not die in vain,” Patricia Grimes said. “This is meaningless; this never should have happened.”

Grimes did have a gun. His family and the lawyer, Jenkins, said he had a legal permit to carry the weapon. Authorities also said they found a shotgun and extra ammunition in the car’s trunk.

Grimes’ relatives said they don’t believe he opened fire first. And the family’s attorney said he believes the investigation will show rogue cops and sloppy police work.

“I just think it was some bad officers who were out there and imposing their will on the community,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins also said that 48 bullet casings were found at the shooting scene. Police won’t confirm or deny that number, but Riley defended his officers’ actions.

”We train our officers to fire when fired upon. We train them to fire more than one shot,” he said.

But the shooting doesn’t make sense, relatives said, describing Grimes as a young man who was a loving father with a good job and no history of being in trouble.

His grieving mother and father said they won’t be silenced and are not worried about a code of silence among officers, the so-called “blue wall.”

“The walls are going to come down. Just like the walls of Jericho came down,” Grimes’ father said, trying to fight back tears.

Ministers Demand Justice In Killing Of Adolph Grimes III

January 06, 2009

Saying the New Orleans Police Department must be purged of "trigger-happy" officers, a group of black ministers and advocates on Tuesday called on Police Superintendent Warren Riley to make public the names of nine undercover officers involved in a fatal shooting of a young African-American man on New Year's Day.

"We are calling for a complete, thorough investigation of the case, " said the Rev. Norwood Thompson Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's local chapter. "We don't want this case to be swept under the rug."

Police officials say 22-year-old Adolph Grimes III prompted a 3 a.m. barrage of police gunfire by firing first at plain-clothed undercover officers in the 6th Ward, although Riley has acknowledged that Grimes may not have known he was being approached by police.

So far, the NOPD has reassigned nine officers, standard practice in such an incident. The department has declined to release their names.

Robert Jenkins, an attorney representing the Grimes family, said the officers' names should be made public so their backgrounds can be checked thoroughly.

Several ministers participating in a news conference echoed that sentiment. They also said they wanted to learn more about the NOPD's training policies, and whether officers undergo sensitivity training.

In an explicit appeal on racial grounds, the group called on Riley, as an African-American police chief, to give tough scrutiny to officers' conduct and to "expose the truth."

Attorneys representing the group of police officers say it is comprised of six men and three women, including black, white and Hispanic officers.

Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard has said Grimes was hit 14 times, with twelve of the bullets striking him from behind. Riley has challenged the claim that most of the shots came from behind, although he has been vague in describing where Grimes was shot.

The NOPD's homicide division is investigating the incident, as it does any shooting by police. The FBI, contacted by Grimes' family, is looking into whether there was a civil rights violation. Police associations, meanwhile, are strongly backing the officers' actions as justified in the face of a lethal threat.

At the start of the news conference, held in Jenkins' law office, Grimes' mother, Patricia, screamed and collapsed onto the floor as the ministers called for action. New Orleans EMS technicians were called in to assist her; she later stood and walked out with family members.

The ministers went to police headquarters after the news conference to meet in private with Riley. Thompson and Rev. Raymond Brown, of Louisiana's National Action Network, said Riley backed his officers during the meeting and wanted to play a tape of the officers at the shooting calling for backup, to support reports that gunfire was exchanged.

Both men said they declined to hear the tape.

"We were cordial, but we feel this tape should be made public and not just offered to us, " Thompson said.

NOPD spokesman Bob Young confirmed that Riley met with the ministers but said Riley wouldn't be issuing any statements Tuesday.

The ministers reiterated their call for the appointment of an independent monitor or civilian review board to keep tabs on errant police officers. They also announced a new phone hotline, 504.TEL.SCLC, to gather information on any instance of alleged police misconduct.

Brendan McCarthy can be reached at or 504.826.3301.

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