Skip to content

After Hurricane Katrina, police lied to family about shooting

Tuesday, Dec 15th, 2009

Matt McDonald left his native Connecticut and headed to New Orleans in the summer of 2005, shortly before Hurricane Katrina struck and floodwaters engulfed the city. McDonald was a troubled soul, a heavy drinker who had lived on the streets, but he kept in touch with his family, calling from time to time.

After the storm, his brother John, an auto-body technician who lives in Norwich, Conn., began working the phones, reaching out to anyone in Louisiana he thought might know something. “I heard so many different things,” John McDonald recalled.

John McDonald’s wife, Kerry, spent the next month making one phone call after another. “It was such a big runaround,” said Kerry McDonald, who recalled speaking to FEMA officials, American Red Cross staffers, New Orleans police officers and numerous others. “One person would say he was shot to death; the next would say he was found floating.”

Eventually, despite the conflicting stories, one thing became clear: Matt was dead at 41. His body was identified by several distinctive tattoos, including the name of his daughter, Crystal, and a pair of black bat wings.

After Hurricane Katrina, police lied to family about shooting 031209banner2 

His girlfriend, Martha Dziadul, paid to cremate the body.

Four years later, a reporter looking at the conduct of the Police Department in the aftermath of the hurricane called Dziadul to ask whether she had ever seen the official report on McDonald’s death. The document said a police officer armed with an AR-15 assault rifle had shot him to death on Sept. 3, 2005.

She was staggered. “They never, ever told me the police shot him. They told me it was a homicide,” she said. “They said: We don’t even know what day it happened because we weren’t there.”

Kerry McDonald said, “We were never told he was shot by the police.”

Dziadul and McDonald family members said they could not recall the names of the NOPD officials they spoke with. But, they said, they were quite sure no one ever told them it was a police officer who killed Matt McDonald or that the slaying had been detailed in an official report.

The Times-Picayune, nonprofit investigative newsroom ProPublica and the PBS series “Frontline” joined forces to examine at least 10 police shootings of citizens during the week after Katrina (PDF) made landfall. Interviews and police documents show the department did little to determine whether these shootings were justified—failing to track down civilian witnesses, collect evidence or thoroughly question officers who fired the shots.

Police Department spokesman Bob Young said the department could not discuss the shootings because of an ongoing Justice Department inquiry into the NOPD’s actions in the wake of the storm.

Capt. Michael Glasser, head of the Police Association of New Orleans, said it was impossible to conduct a comprehensive investigation at the time. “Normally you do forensics, a crime-scene investigation,” he said. “We didn’t have that. We didn’t have anyone to collect the deceased.”

Events are chronicled

mcdonald profile 140x240 After Hurricane Katrina, police lied to family about shootingAt one point, at least, the NOPD saw Matt McDonald’s shooting as a potentially newsworthy event. On Oct. 11, 2005, the department issued a one-page news release saying officers killed an unidentified male after he tried to assault them. Investigators, the news release stated, were still trying to establish “an exact motive for this incident.”

The release came out three days after The Times-Picayune published a story that identified McDonald as a casualty of the storm. The article did not say how he died.

The events that precipitated McDonald’s shooting are chronicled in a seven-page NOPD report, which describes him threatening a group of police officers with a 9 mm pistol, and refusing to obey their instructions to drop his weapon. It is unclear when the report was prepared.

Confronted by five officers

As the document tells the story, five officers were in a white GMC pickup driving down Burgundy Street in Faubourg Marigny on the afternoon of Sept. 3 when they saw McDonald.

In interviews with Sgt. Doug Eckert, the officers said they observed McDonald carrying a “handgun and a bottle containing an unknown liquid” in a white plastic bag. The report doesn’t explain how the police could tell the bag contained a gun.

According to the report, Lt. Bryant Wininger hopped out of the pickup armed with an assault rifle and commanded McDonald to drop the sack. McDonald ignored the order and “reached into the bag in an attempt to remove a handgun,” the report said.

Wininger, the report said, feared for his life and fired four shots in rapid sequence, the last two as McDonald lay on the ground. The officers said they then immediately rushed McDonald to West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero.

According to the report, Matt McDonald suffered “what they believed to be a single gunshot to the left back area” and died at the hospital.

At the scene, Wininger and the other officers collected and sent to the police evidence room the following items: a black 9 mm handgun, 10 bullets and a 6-inch hunting knife. The knife was pulled from McDonald’s pocket.

Eckert later questioned the officers but didn’t speak to anyone else, stating in his report that he was unable to locate any witnesses to the incident.

Two hours after the shooting, Eckert went to the scene but didn’t find “any physical evidence” there, according to the report. He does not mention taking any photos, which would be the normal practice after a shooting.

The document contains a noteworthy inconsistency. Pages four and five are identical except for a few sentences, which describe differently how McDonald came to be shot in the back.

On page four, McDonald is said to swivel his body—first turning away from the officer, and then turning back toward him. When Wininger pulls the trigger, the report states, it prompts McDonald “to turn away again.”

A page later, McDonald is depicted as continually turning toward the officer. Then, as the shot is fired, McDonald pivots and begins “to turn away to avoid being struck,” according to the report.

The NOPD released the seven-page document in response to a public records request. The department declined to divulge a second—more detailed—report on the incident, or the transcripts of interviews with the officers.

Wininger, who has since retired, did not respond to calls for comment about the incident. Eckert also declined to comment, as did two officers who were present for the shooting, Detective Nicholas Gernon and Sgt. Daniel Scanlan. Those officers remain on the force and are forbidden to talk to the media by departmental policy.

A review of NOPD personnel records indicates Wininger was not disciplined for the shooting. The district attorney’s office also declined to bring criminal charges against him.

Discrepancies in report

mcdonalds 360x300 After Hurricane Katrina, police lied to family about shootingTulane University criminologist Peter Scharf examined the NOPD report at the request of a reporter. He said the discrepancy in the narrative—whether McDonald turned away from or toward Wininger—could have multiple explanations, including an error in transcribing the interviews or a mistake in the writing process. The two versions, he said, could also suggest an attempt to tweak the story.

Scharf said that the flaws in the report are understandable, given the chaos in New Orleans at the time. But he said that, ultimately, it is nearly impossible to tell from the report whether the shooting was justified. “There really is no physical evidence to document this is what happened,” he said.

When police kill a citizen, the department has a responsibility to disclose exactly how the event unfolded, said Mary Howell, a civil rights attorney who has represented the families of people slain by New Orleans police officers. The most important thing, she said, is to tell the family “the truth, whatever that is. It is pretty appalling if this family was not given correct information or they were misled.”

In a police shooting, gunshot wounds to the back automatically raise questions that should be explored, Howell added.

In such instances, it is important to talk to as many witnesses as possible. “Yes, there are times when there are justifiable explanations in those situations,” Howell said. “You have to investigate it critically and thoroughly.”

A troubled life

People who knew Matt McDonald describe him as a solitary character who worked rarely and drank frequently. His family said he drifted from place to place, often subsisting on the charity of female companions or his father.

He loved the rock band KISS and science fiction. He favored black jeans and leather jackets and cowboy hats. But what Matt McDonald liked most was drinking, which he preferred to do alone. “Unfortunately, he liked his alcohol, which ruined a lot of relationships,” Kerry McDonald said.

The McDonalds and his Connecticut girlfriend, Dziadul, find it hard to imagine the man they knew owning a semiautomatic handgun. They find it even harder to picture him confronting five cops with such a weapon.

“Matt would never do that,” John McDonald said. “He would’ve laid right down. He wasn’t a fighter.”

A search of public records in New Orleans and Connecticut did not turn up any criminal record for McDonald, although a man with the same name but a slightly different date of birth was cited for trespassing in New Orleans in 1997.

The shifting accounts of his death family and friends say they received from authorities have deepened their suspicions.

Dziadul was incredulous when she learned about the NOPD report on the shooting, saying she distinctly recalls being told that he had been murdered by another civilian. “They told me it was a homicide,” she said.

Both the McDonalds and Dziadul said they took notes on their conversations with authorities, but have lost them in the years since.

According to Glasser, the police association president, the NOPD doesn’t always notify the families of shooting victims. That task, he said, is often left to the coroner’s office.

Both Dziadul and the McDonalds said they understood from their conversations with New Orleans officials that there was no autopsy report on Matt McDonald

The Orleans Parish coroner’s office said forensic pathologists did, in fact, examine Matt McDonald.

Chief investigator John Gagliano initially said that the office had a copy of the autopsy but would not release it. On Friday, Gagliano said those records had been lost and that coroner Frank Minyard couldn’t locate Matt McDonald’s file anywhere in the building.

The coroner’s attorney, Bill Bradley, had also dug through the files without success, he said.

“I want the truth,” John McDonald said. “I want to know what happened.”

–By A.C. Thompson, ProPublica, Brendan McCarthy and Laura Maggi, Times-Picayune

View the original article at Prison Planet

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Alex Jones, conspiracy, Police State, Prison Planet Articles.

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's all happening now big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale". This site must be on some list at GCHQ/NSA as my AdSense revenue which I rely on has gone down by a third. Either people are not helping out by visiting sponsors sanymore or I am being blackballed like many YouTube sites.

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally I know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know some people in prison now for the content they had on their "secret private group". Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer Wickr. If you really need to, buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA/GCHQ to hack into. Ensure it has no GPS tracking on it and that the battery can be removed. These are usually built for old people to get used to technology storing only a set of numbers to call. However they have no games, applications to install or other ways people can exploit the computer tracking device you carry round with you most of the day - your smart phone. If you are paranoid ensure that you can remove the battery when travelling around and do so to prevent GPS tracking or phone mast triangulation. Even with your phone in Flight mode or turned off, it can be turned on remotely and any features like front or back cameras, microphones and keylogging software can be installed to trace you.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering rubbish) then I could REALLY do with some..

Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box and throw a few pound my way each month, it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why.


Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material.

Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and tag any tweets with alternative news from the mainstream with the #altnews hashtag I created to keep it alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?