View Full Version : ACLU Suing Over Inmates Left To Die In Katrina

10-07-2005, 05:50 PM
ACLU Sues Over Conditions at La. Jail


By DOUG SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer Fri Oct 7, 8:48 AM ET

BATON ROUGE, La. - A civil rights group filed court papers Thursday demanding access to the New Orleans city jail to investigate allegations that inmates were abandoned for days after Hurricane Katrina, without food or drinking water, in chest-high floodwaters with floating corpses.

It took three days to evacuate more than 6,000 inmates from the lockup after the storm hit Aug. 29, prison authorities have said. The prisoners are now being held at 38 state and local lockups around Louisiana.

The American Civil Liberties Union's court filings demand information about where each prisoner is locked up. The group also wants the sheriff's office to halt any cleanup at the jail because it could destroy evidence that prisoners were left standing in bacteria- and petroleum-laden floodwater.

A spokeswoman for Sheriff Marlin Gusman said in an e-mail that the sheriff had not yet been served with the papers.

Gusman has acknowledged that a loss of electricity plunged the jail into darkness, with no electricity or working toilets, creating an oppressive, foul-smelling atmosphere.

But he has denied inmates' most shocking accusations: that corpses were floating through the facility and some prisoners went for days without food and water. He said prisoners, his staff and their families had food from the prison, plus MREs supplied by the military.

The ACLU was named counsel for all the jail's inmates under a 1994 federal consent decree mandating heath and environmental standards.