By Kelly Harris
On December 9, 2010, I sat in a beauty shop chair as my stylist tightened my locs. A woman stood in the center of the salon scanning TV channels when I saw breaking news: “Verdict Reached.” Five New Orleans Police officers faces were plastered on the screen.
The woman was about to keep flipping through the channels, but I said, “Wait. This is important.”
“Who da police done shot now?” said another woman getting hair glued on her scalp.
“This is the Henry Glover case,” I said.
The whole salon said, “Who?”
“Henry Glover,” I repeated, hoping his name would ring a bell.
“Girl, there so many getting’ killed, I can’t keep up,” said a stylist with a flat iron in one hand.
Henry Glover was shot the Friday after Katrina by a New Orleans police officer as he went to retrieve some stolen suitcases two women he knew had left outside a strip mall in Algiers. He was left to die, but a stranger, William Tanner saw him suffering and drove him and his brother and his friend to the police. The police beat them all as Glover bled in the back seat.. The officers drove the Good Samaritan’s car to a levee and set the car ablaze. Later, somebody stole his skull. I explained all that.
“Damn,” said a woman fingering her iPhone.
The news anchor said, “ …And now were going live outside the courtroom for reaction from the Glover family on the guilty verdict.”
“Oh My Goooodnesss!”
Sheneneh Jenkins’ dookie braids and curled fingernails in Gina’s face replaced the news I so desperately wanted to see. I sat there wondering how anyone could turn away from this news to watch Martin reruns.
I guess, I expected Black people in a majority Black city to be outraged about a Black man being burned and buried headless—regardless of the verdict.
Damn is right.
A black salon full of women and a few hustle men randomly entering and exiting with items for sale, knew nothing about Henry Glover or the trial.
Maybe it was hurricane fatigue. Many folks were evacuated at the time. Others were trying to eat and find family members and high ground. Or, NOPD fatigue—the history of police lawlessness is long and torrid.
Now three years later, an officer gets a new trial because a judge ruled the shooter shouldn’t be tried with the officers who destroyed Glover’s body. I can’t imagine the disgust his mother must feel. Maybe this retrial is an opportunity for us–locally and nationally to rally with support for the Glover family. I don’t want to return to laughter.
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