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NAACP asks D.A., coroner to resume Glover probe

31st March 2014   ·   0 Comments

Three days after the state AG backed away from a request by Orleans Parish Coroner Dr. Frank Minyard to weigh in on the ongoing investigation into the death of Henry Glover, the local branch of the NAACP is pushing for the local district attorney and coroner to move forward with their own probe of the 2005 incident.

Henry Glover, 31, was gunned down by NOPD Officer David Warren less than a week after Hurricane Katrina and was taken by a good Samaritan to a Westbank elementary school being used by police as a temporary police station. That was never seen alive again.

His remains were burned and left in the good Samaritan’s vehicle on the Mississippi River levee in Algiers. Glover’s skull was later removed from the grisly murder scene and has not been returned to the family.

In 2010 Warren was convicted in the killing of Glover but was granted a new trial by a federal judge who agreed with defense attorney arguments that said Warren should have been tried separately from the other NOPD defendants in the case. He was acquitted last year in the case.

In December, shortly after Warren’s acquittal, the Glover family protested at the Coroner’s Office and urged Dr. Frank Minyard to reclassify Glover’s seat as a homicide so that Warren could face state charges. Minyard agreed to do so, but later said he was having trouble completing his investigation and asked Louisiana Attorney General William “Buddy” Caldwell to lend him legal assistance in the case.

Three months later, the state AG has a decided not to get involved in the case.

In a letter dated March 25, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell he Louisiana State Attorney General has issued an opinion that the Orleans Parish District Attorney should answer the question as to whether the Orleans Parish Coroner has the “investigatory authority” to reopen the Coroner’s investigation of the death of Mr. Henry Glover.

“After reviewing this request and discussing the matter with you and the District Attorney, we have determined that the subject matter of your request is intimately related to ongoing matters currently being handled by the District Attorney,” Caldwell wrote. “As such, and recognizing the unique and special relationship between a district attorney and a coroner, we believe that your request should be addressed by your district attorney and not by our office. Accordingly, our office will decline at this time to respond to your request.”

On Friday, New Orleans Branch NAACP president Danatus King penned a letter to Cannizzarro requesting that he look closely at the Henry Glover case and efforts by the family to reclassify the victim’s death as a homicide.

“As you can see, the Attorney General has opined that the question of the Coroner’s ‘investigatory authority’ should be answered by you,” King wrote. “Consequently, the New Orleans Branch NAACP is hereby requesting that you inform Dr. Minyard that his office does have the investigatory authority to reopen the Coroner’s Office’s investigation of the death of Mr. Henry Glover.”

Orleans Parish D.A. Leon Cannizzarro has been under a hailstorm of criticism from Black grassroots and civil rights leaders who say that he talks about being tough on crime when the defendants are young Black males but is less zealous about seeking justice when the perpetrator is white and the victim is Black as was the case in the racially explosive case of Merritt Landry. Landry, a City of New Orleans employee and Faubourg Marigny resident, shot 14-year-old Marshall Coulter in the head after finding the youth in his backyard last July. To date, no charges have been filed against Merritt, even though the NOPD report says that the teen did not pose a threat to Landry and his family.

The case has been compared to the high-profile Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis cases and may be partially responsible for efforts in Baton Rouge to repeal Louisiana’s “Stand Your Ground” laws.

After Minyard sought guidance from the state AG in December, the Glover family held a press conference during which it said that AG Buddy Caldwell should investigate Minyard.

Shortly after the December showdown with community activists, civil rights leaders and members of the Glover family, Dr. Minyard announced that he would withdraw from the Orleans Parish Coroner’s race after serving in that capacity for 4o years.

The Glover family could not be reached for comment before The Louisiana Weekly went to press.

This article originally published in the March 31, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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