Glover family asks state AG to investigate N.O. coroner
27th January 2014 · 0 Comments
The family of Henry Glover, a West Bank resident who was shot by New Orleans police just days after Hurricane Katrina recently accused Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard of intentionally stalling and dragging his feet on their request to have the 31-year-old victim’s violent death classified as a homicide.
Glover was gunned down on September 2, 2005 by former NOPD officer David Warren, who was convicted and sentenced to 26 years in prison in 2011 but was later granted a new trial and was acquitted of federal civil rights charges last month by a federal jury.
The Glover family is seeking to have Henry Glover’s death classified as a homicide so that Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizarro could potentially charge Warren with murder.
Henry Glover’s relatives said January 18 at a press conference organized by the New Orleans branch of the NAACP that New Orleans branch of the NAACP that they’re asking Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to look at Dr. Frank Minyard’s recent actions.
Caldwell’s office did not immediately respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment.
Former officer David Warren has testified that he shot at Glover. Other officers burned a car with Glover’s body in it.
Minyard said Jan. 15 that he’s asking Caldwell whether he can consider non-forensic evidence such as trial testimony and photographs.
While Minyard told WVUE-TV on Jan. 18 that he agrees that the death should be re-classified a homicide, he added that the problem is a lack of forensic evidence of homicide.
The coroner agreed to reopen the case after Glover’s family and about 200 activists showed up at his office and demanded justice for Henry Glover in December.
After meeting with the Glover family and its supporters, Minyard also promised to share the documents he has about the case with the family. Four days later, he posted NOPD officers outside of his office and locked the family and a small group of supporters out of the building. While he agreed to share all of the documents in his possession with the family, Glover family members say he reneged on that promise and only gave them a handful of papers.
He estimated that it would take seven to 10 days to complete his investigation of the case but has still not complete his investigation.
In a recent letter to Caldwell, Minyard asks for assistance in resolving the case and informed the AG that he requested documents from the federal trial of David Warren from the FBI but was told that those court proceedings have been sealed.
Minyard said January 18 that he felt bad for the family: “It’s just a horrible situation,” he told The Times-Picayune.
A wide spectrum of community activists and civil rights leaders from several organizations joined the family at the January 18 press conference.
The Rev. Ernest Johnson, president of the state conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said the groups planned to ask Caldwell about the “unlawful killing of Mr. Glover” and the “malfeasance” of the coroner for not having issued a ruling on the death.
“The coroner has a duty and a responsibility in the position that he serves, to go ahead and make a final decision,” Johnson said. “This kicking the can down the street is kicking this family down the street.”
“Malfeasance” Minyard asked. He said he’s been trying for 40 years as coroner to do the right thing.
“I understand the family has been through a lot. I feel for them. We’ve got to do what’s legal and what’s right,” he said.
“The Glover case is a star reminder that the justice system still operates on the premise that Blacks have no rights that whites are bound by law to respect and that the Constitution has not extended equal protection under the law to Black folks,” W.C. Johnson, a member of Community United for Change and host of local cable-access show “OurStory,” told The Louisiana Weekly.
“When Blacks are charged with infractions, Justice is swift, severe and permanent, but when Blacks are the injured party, justice is routinely denied and/or delayed,” Johnson continued. “Because Blacks often have no redress and do enjoy the constitutional protections that white Americans can take for granted, Blacks are effectively rendered slaves.
“We have Henry Glover to thank for illuminating the truth about the plight of Black people in the United States more than 150 years after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation.”
While Johnson described a bleak legal outlook for Black people in 2014, he added that Blacks cannot abandon the struggle for human rights and self determination. “This is not the first time our backs have been against the wall in American history, nor will it be the last,” Johnson said. “We have a long history of fighting the good fight and surviving and succeeding against the odds. Abandoning the struggle for justice and equal protection under the law is not an option.”
“One of the worst things about this whole fight for justice for Henry Glover has been how quiet elected officials have been about the case,” Ramessu Merriamen Aha, a New Orleans businessman and former congressional candidate, told The Louisiana Weekly Friday. “Where are the voices of Mary Landrieu, Cedric Richmond, all of our Black legislators and local elected officials? How could President Obama endorse Mitch Landrieu but say nothing about the ongoing Henry Glover ordeal?
“These same elected officials who have said nothing about Henry Glover in the past have the audacity to ask for our votes to send them back to office during this election cycle,” Aha added. “That’s a slap in the face to the Black community in general and the Glover family. We need to speak loudly and let them know how we feel on election day about their lack of respect for the constitutional rights of Black people in New Orleans and across the state.”
“Nothing is going to change until we change it,” the Rev. Raymond Brown, a community activist and president of National Action Now, told The Louisiana Weekly. “As Dr. King used to say all the time, ‘injustice anywhere affects justice everywhere.’
“We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Glover family and demand that Henry Glover’s killer be finally brought to justice for taking an innocent human life. No justice, no peace.”
“The people of New Orleans need to be conscious about the importance in protecting constitutional rights and privileges,” Johnson told The Louisiana Weekly. “Today Blacks are being given the short end of the stick. Tomorrow, who knows which ethnic group will be denied rights and privileges by the powers to be? This is why everyone needs to be pressing for justice for the Henry Glover family.”
Additional reporting by Louisiana Weekly editor Edmund W. Lewis.
This article originally published in the January 27, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.