by A.C. Thompson, ProPublica
width="200" style="float:left; margin: 0 12px 12px 0" alt="Edna Glover holds a portrait of her son, whose charred remains were found behind a police station. (Credit: Chandra McCormick & Keith Calhoun)" />The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining whether civil rights laws were violated in the case of Henry Glover, a New Orleans resident whose charred body was found shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit in August, 2005.
Glover's death was not investigated by either local or federal agencies until The Nation and ProPublica reported late last year that he had been shot by an unknown attacker and left to die by New Orleans police. The Glover case is now the subject of inquiries by the FBI and two New Orleans Police Department units.
William Tanner, 41, who was quoted by The Nation/ProPublica account of Glover's death, says he was recently interviewed by three FBI agents at the bureau's offices near the University of New Orleans. "There were a lot of questions about the police and how they treated me," said Tanner.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on the federal probe in a March 27 story.
FBI Special Agent Sheila Thorne told us Saturday: "The matter is under investigation to determine whether there were any possible civil rights violations."
Thorne declined to elaborate on the bureau's focus, but civil rights cases often center on law enforcement officials suspected of abusing civilians and depriving them of their constitutional rights. So far this month federal prosecutors have announced the arrest of a Wyoming state trooper for an alleged kidnapping, as well as the sentencing of two former Memphis police officers for conspiring to rob drug dealers, and the sentencing of a Lucas County, Ohio sheriff's deputy for attacking jail inmates. Federal prosecutors could use the law to bring charges against those who attacked Glover.
In a city haunted by violence, Glover's demise stands apart because of the apparent involvement of the local law enforcement.
A 31-year-old father of four, Glover was shot by an unknown assailant shortly after the hurricane struck, on Sept. 2, 2005, according to Tanner. Glover sought help from a group of NOPD officers, but the cops refused to treat Glover or call for an ambulance, allowing him to bleed to death in the back seat of a car, Tanner says.
Police, according to Tanner, then seized both the auto and Glover's body. The car, a Chevrolet Malibu, was eventually discovered in an isolated spot along the Mississippi River. Inside was Glover's severely burnt corpse, which had been reduced to little more than ashes and bone fragments, autopsy records and photos show. No witness has yet come forward to describe how the car caught fire.
In addition to speaking with the FBI, Tanner says he's been interviewed by NOPD Deputy Chief Bruce Adams of the Public Integrity bureau, and Sgt. Detective Gerard Dugue from NOPD's cold case homicide unit.
During the past month NOPD officers have taken the Chevrolet into evidence, said William Hepting, a New Orleans resident who lives near the site where the car was abandoned. The scorched vehicle had been rusting on the riverbank for more than three years.