Adolph Grimes: New Orleans NOPD goes to trial for civil rights violations

Adolph Grimes - trajectory of officer bullets
Image Credit GMC

source/credits: The Law Office of Glenn C. McGovern
published: 5 July 2021

A civil jury trial date has officially been set on August 2, 2021,for the January 1, 2009, police shooting 82 40 caliber low trajectory angle shots into Adolph Grimes III body. NOPD plain clothes officer killed Grimes, in violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Civil Rights Act wrongful death case of Adolph Grimes III. The civil jury civil rights trial is set for August 2, 2021, in the Eastern District Court Federal Courthouse in New Orleans.

Of the 27 instances between January 2009 and May 2010 in which NOPD officers intentionally discharged their firearms at people, all 27 of the subjects of this deadly force were African American.(SOURCE: U.S. Dept. of Justice Report , Civil Rights Division, entitled, “Investigation of the New Orleans Police Department” on dated March 16, 2011 page v.)

Adolph Grimes was a 22-year-old African American with no criminal record and a graduate of Brother Martin High School in New Orleans. On Jan. 1, 2009, was a 2:45 am reported shooting at nearby Club Fabulous by a shooter in a white car. Several NOPD units responded to nearby Club Fabulous.

Then then two unmarked units with 9 plain clothes officers left and approached Grimes parked car at 3:07 a.m. on Gov. Nichols St. Grimes was visiting his grandmother on New Year’s 2009 on Gov. Nichols Street near Claiborne and had just dropped off his 17-month-old child. Grimes was sitting in his blue rented Camry with the dome light on combing his hair, waiting for his cousin to arrive. Grimes car was approached by 9 plain clothes officers in two unmarked cars who failed to identify themselves, failed to show badges, failed to use flashing lights and the PA/Siren was inoperative.

According to witnesses, the NOPD officers approached without in plain clothes, without badges, and did not identify themselves as police officers. An officer then shouted, “gun, gun, gun!” and 82 shots were fired by officers without any warning. Officers and Chief Warren Riley in a press conference claimed there was a gun battle with Grimes and 9 plainclothes NOPD Officers . However, no 9mm empty casings were found in the Grimes Toyota Camry car nor at the crime scene by NOPD Technicians. The Toyota Camry car had over 16 bullet holes in the car. The Camry car was not preserved and lost by NOPD. No internal affairs investigation was ever done by NOPD. Instead NOPD Homicide, headed by Sergeant McMullen investigated.

Sgt. McMullen tainted the investigation intentionally and did a recreation of the shooting in a meeting in the NOPD parking garage with all officers prior to their giving statements to Homicide detectives. The recreation was with all the officers with their PANO union police attorneys present and each discussed what they did before the NOPD officers gave statements to Homicide Detectives, thus tainting the entire investigation. The NOPD had a custom and practice of tainting police shooting investigations as the department did in the Danziger shooting.

The Department of Justice investigated the Grimes shooting for 5 years with no action taken. The civil rights lawsuit filed against the City of New Orleans, the then Chief of Police Warren Riley and 9 officers of the New Orleans Police Department is accusing the City of having a defective custom, training and policy condoning the dangerous practice of plainclothes officers in unmarked cars approaching citizens without uniformed officers in marked cars and without probable cause to make the stop of Grimes.

On New Year’s Eve at 3:07 a.m. Grimes had a legally owned 9mm gun in his car with all required permits which brings to light how Grimes’ Second Amendment rights had also been violated. Under the unsubstantiated claims an officer saw Grimes holding a gun, officers sympathetically fired a flurry of bullets, striking Grimes a total of 14 times. Most importantly, 12 of these bullets struck Grimes in the back, with 4 rounds going through his brain, both kidneys and liver—all disabling shots at extremely low trajectory angles. The low trajectory angles of entry of the wounds are consistent with being shot while Grimes was laying on the ground. Also Grimes right hand middle finger was fractured by a bullet making it impossible to fire a gun with this right hand as claimed by the 9 plain clothes NOPD officers.

NOPD crime technicians determined 82 rounds of 40 caliber bullets were fired by NOPD officers. The NOPD technicians recovered 76 empty 40 caliber shell casings from the crime scene. No 9mm casings were recovered from the car nor the crime scene. Mr. Grimes had no criminal record. Grimes and had been in the City only for three hours, all of that time in the company of his family, including his parents, sister and child, before he was killed by the officers named in this lawsuit. Grimes is survived by his Texas common law wife and son who filed the lawsuit. Sgt. Dan McMullen testified in depositions he had never found a NOPD officer at fault in a shooting his entire career.

Sgt. Dan McMullen is no longer with NOPD. Sgt. McMullen after flipping a NOPD police car on November 15, 2020 and was charged with driving impaired. Marcellus White, one of the NOPD officers in the shooting of Grimes pled guilty to 5 counts of sexual battery of a child under 13 years of age and is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in Homer, La.

Lt. Meisch is no longer with NOPD and is awaiting a felony criminal trial in EDLA No. 20-00101 for wire fraud from St. Patrick’s Church.

March 16, 2011 DOJ Investigation of NOPD by the Civil Rights Division of DOJ in a scathing 2011 assessment of the department, the U.S. Department of Justice labeled its mishandling of officer-involved shooting investigations “so blatant and egregious that it appeared intentional…”

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