Tragedy In Two Acts April 11, 2008Posted by Mark Folse in 504, Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, Remember, Sinn Fein, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: Dinerral Shavers, Helen Hill, Hot 8 Brass Band, murder, trial
Yesterday a jury acquired the accused killer of music teacher and Hot 8 Brass Band member Dinerral Shavers after the state’s key witness could not identify the accused in court. What, does this kid not watch TV? Its the guy in the suit at the table with the lawyers you don’t know. Jeezus.
I won’t recount the whole sad tale. You can read about it here. The aftermath of Shavers’ shooting as a comedy of errors sandwiched between two tragedies: Shavers’ death and the failure of the N.O.P.D. and district attorney’s office to bring a sense of justice and closure to Shavers’ family and friends.
Shavers’ killing and that of artist and filmmaker Helen Hill galvanized the city in 2007, leading to a crime march by thousands of Orleanians to their City Hall to demand that the police, courts and city find a way to stop the killings.
The judge’s final remarks were a pointed comment on what is going down on the streets of New Orleans:
“This is like Baghdad,” [Judge Jerome] Winsberg told the jury after reading their verdicts aloud.
People are shooting each other over neighborhood alliances, he noted; children are not only raising themselves, but being left to care for toddlers and babies in the 2200 block of Dumaine Street.
Winsberg said he wasn’t commenting on the verdict, just the four days of testimony that preceded it. A subset of New Orleans unfolded in court, the judge said, one in which no one seems to live with their parents, but guns and “beefs” and threats are ever-present.
I will have the sad privilege of seeing the Hot 8 at a private event later today, and telling them how sorry I am for how all this played out. The band will be at French Quarter Fest tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Wollenberg Park. I encourage you to come out and show these guys some love today.