L.A. Times Media Critic Wades Into New Orleans Quagmire

On the heels of this week’s announcement that James Rainey has won the 2010 Bart Richards Award from Pennsylvania State University for a series about the diminishing quality of local TV news, the L.A. Times columnist today details a Bayou bombshell.

For five years, former New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer Alex Brandon kept quiet about some events he witnessed a week after Hurricane Katrina. But during court testimony last fall, he finally came clean about what he saw outside Harrah’s casino downtown, where African American resident Henry Glover and several others were shot at by police for alleged looting. Writes Rainey:

The death of Glover came without apparent provocation: a cop shooting the suspected looter and his colleagues covering it up. Brandon helped prosecutors draw the picture of the confrontation, especially between police and a couple of Glover’s friends who tried to come to his aid.

The photographer’s testimony landed like a stun grenade… He acknowledged that he had gone along with a police officer’s demand not to photograph Glover’s body.

Rainey is scheduled to travel to Washington in May to accept the Richards citation; that’s also where Brandon now works as an AP photographer. Perhaps he can convince his latest subject to chat further, in person. Meanwhile, several of Brandon’s former colleagues, while cautioning that they do not defend Brandon’s actions, also note in the piece that it is easy to judge from afar.