A Los Angeles Times story today focuses on the work of former Little Rock resident Alex Brandon, now an AP photographer in Washington, for his work as a New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer during coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
Today, more than 5 years later, the newspaper's reporters, editors and photographers continue to push for a full accounting of the disaster, most recently with an award-winning series (in partnership with ProPublica, the nonprofit newsroom) about multiple cases of extreme police misbehavior.
So it came as both a shock and a blow to the paper's sense of common purpose to learn in recent months that one erstwhile member of the Picayune team, photographer Alex Brandon, strayed from the mission. From his own testimony in a trial last fall against several New Orleans officers, it became clear that Brandon withheld much of what he knew about the violent, rogue policing inflicted on some African American residents after the storm.
....There may not be anything to be done about what's past. But, before Brandon moves on entirely, his former colleagues wish they could get answers to a few questions: Why didn't he tell them more of what he saw? Is there anything more he needs to tell them about what the New Orleans police did after Katrina? Does he have any regrets?
It's hard to say whether they'll ever get the answers to those questions, as Brandon — a street-hardened photographer long known for his friendships with police and affinity for high-adrenaline ride-alongs — has not talked outside the courtroom about his post-Katrina experiences.
Brandon didn't talk to the Times.