coveralt.jpgAlthough it comes too late to help the Gerald DeSalvo for Criminal Sheriff campaign, the ACLU has issued a blistering report on the preparation, response, and reaction of Sheriff Gusman before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. Anyone concerned that the liberal ACLU would pull punches in a report critical of an African-American sheriff has nothing to fear; it absolutely lambasts him.

In a 145-page report entitled “Abandoned & Abused,” released after an 11-month investigation involving hundreds of interviews and written accounts, the ACLU concludes Sheriff Gusman failed to make adequate emergency preparations, abandoned both his deputies and the prisoners in deplorable conditions, and pathologically lied about it to win re-election. It closes by urging the Justice Department to commence a federal investigation into civil rights violations.

Loyal readers may recall, The Weathers Report broke the story back in March that Sheriff Gusman had checked himself into the honeymoon suite in a hotel in Gray, Louisiana in the midst of the post-Katrina chaos. The ACLU report is short on details of the desertion, merely discussing the mass resignations of deputies after being “[a]bandoned [b]y [t]he [s]heriff.” It does, however, contain an account by Brady Richard, formerly a OPP medical supply officer, who recalls a horrific stint at the jail before being transported by bus, along with other employees, to the Lions Club Hall in Gray, Louisiana. There, Sheriff Gusman apparently gave a bizarre speech, admonished the employees to behave, and left without thanking them, adding that he wasn’t “sure what you’ll eat tonight but we’ll try to get something hot for you tomorrow.” According to Mr. Richard, these events occurred on Friday the 2nd. Indeed, the same night Sheriff Gusman went honeymooning near Houma.

Sheriff Gusman’s term expires in 2010, when the Orleans Parish criminal sheriff and civil sheriff positions will be consolidated, like every other parish in the state.