Is This What Happened on Religious Street?
It appears that some of the questions surrounding Case One -- "Mystery on Religious Street" -- may have been answered. It turns out the two men featured in the photographs -- which we first published in December 2009 -- are alive and they're telling their story. In the video below, Robert Williams alleges he and his friend Ernest "Ricky" Bell were brutally beaten by NOPD officers, who thought the men had been involved in a shootout with police moments earlier.
Williams tells Times-Picayune reporter Gordon Russell that he and Bell had stolen a limousine that day, Sept. 1, 2005, in an attempt to get out of the flooded city. But they didn't get very far before they were pulled over by police, who, according to Williams, told them they matched the description of some suspects who had been shooting at police from a nearby building.
Williams says that the two men -- who have criminal records, though neither has been booked with any offenses involving gun violence -- were savagely beaten and sprayed with mace. Williams' eyes were swollen shut and several teeth were kicked out. Bell says seven to 11 officers were involved and that the beating left him with internal bleeding.