Criminal Justice

Facebook rhetoric reveals mindset of beleaguered NOPD officers and supporters

The Police Association of New Orleans held a fund-raiser over the weekend supporting Special Operations unit veterans Capt. Jeff Winn and Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann and the police officer union’s rapidly depleting legal defense budget. Winn and Scheuermann are under federal investigation in connection with the death of Henry Glover, whose remains were found in the burned shell of the car he was last seen in after being delivered wounded into police custody by civilians. The two SWAT officers are also under investigation for  the shooting of Keenon McCann, who was wounded by the officers for threatening officers with a gun that has not surfaced.

The fund-raising event for PANO was heavily promoted on Facebook by a page called “Support Jeff Winn,” which has attracted nearly 2,000 “fans” and a wealth of wall posts by friends, family, colleagues, and supporters of the two officers. Some of those posts were written by Scheuermann and Winn themselves, or at least by Facebook accounts that seem to belong to them.


Their posts, and the supportive messages of others, reveal an alternative interpretation of their service after Katrina that is heavy on depictions of war-like chaos in the aftermath of the levee failure – and light on anything specific about the incidents for which the two officers are being investigated. Still, they don’t avoid their case entirely, and overall, it is surprising for the targets of the investigations to be so cavalier in their use of a public forum given their current public and legal vulnerability.


Though most of the Facebook content consists of messages of support, other posts are incredibly offensive, including a photograph of a patch sold to raise money for PANO that depicts Jeff Winn aiming a firearm with the letters WWJWD for “what would Jeff Winn do.”

One consistent ally and content provider for the Support Jeff Winn page is the writer Chuck Hustmyre, who has written stories lionizing the service of Winn, Scheuermann, and other NOPD officers after Katrina for publications such as New Orleans Magazine and truTV. The truTV piece recounts rescue efforts but also paints a picture of Armageddon that the officers and their supporters refer to as a critical context that the public has forgotten.

When Katrina struck New Orleans on Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, it carried with it a tidal wave of chaos and violence.  In the aftermath of the hurricane, looters plundered stores in broad daylight.  They posed for pictures and talked to reporters.  Bands of thugs, armed with guns stolen from pawn shops and sporting goods stores, roamed the streets.  They robbed, raped, and pillaged their way across the dry parts of the city.  Police stations came under attack.  Rescue helicopters were shot at.  Relief trucks got hijacked.  Buildings burned out of control.  Hospitals ran out of fuel for their emergency generators.  Patients died.

Since the storm, many of the then-common media depictions of rampant violence have been disavowed as overstated and exaggerated.

Hustmyre, in posts on Facebook, however, defends his work and that of Winn and Scheuermann in crude terms.


Winn and Scheuermann, as high-ranking officers in Special Operations, were respected by their colleagues. With the disaster response of the federal, state, and municipal government bungled as it was, NOPD officers were the only on-the-ground authority during the storm.

The NOPD was maligned for desertions and looting of their own during the storm, fortifying the defensive position of those who, like Winn and Scheuermann, remained at their posts. Perhaps that is why they have become the public face of PANO’s fund-raising efforts and not, for instance, those allegedly involved in the Danziger Bridge cover-up conspiracy. That Winn and Scheuermann’s legend of heroism is now crumbling symbolizes the larger erosion of the public’s confidence in the NOPD and its officers and deepens the frustration of those who truly believe that SWAT’s valor during Katrina was uncompromised.

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  • Wow. (And good catch by the Lens.)

  • dsb

    In the WWJWD patch, is that a cell phone in his left hand? Or some other communication device? Interesting detail. Jeff Winn in coordination mode, and with the badass goatee and sunglasses and aimed gun. Will the Police Association of New Orleans own up to this patch–are they actually going to sell it? That’s a stunner.

  • Oh, boy, I clicked on that New Orleans mag Hustmyre link and got that nasty flashback to the “We’ve seen a lot of Volvos” quote from an officer in there. Yeesh.

  • Bow Wow.
    It appears that Mr. Ackerman may have waxed Eponymous?
    Based on the nearly incomprehensible idea of “Facebook Rhetoric” (still can’t get my Mind around that one:) we now have the phenomenon of getting “FACEBOOKED”.
    Thank you

  • Or, in the case of these Ferrel Cops, let us say…
    Sorry, Editilla was born on April Fool’s Day.

  • broadmoor guy

    Firstly I commend the general principal this site is dedicated to. However do we need to judge all actions done by NOPD in the days after the storm by the lying fools of the Danzinger bridge? To compare the two is apples and oranges. I have read and researched the Kennon McCann shooting and many details separate themselves from other police actions in those days.First-if these two officers were running amok you are going to tell me two trained SWAT/military(USMC no less) would not have killed the suspect? The reports I have read stated the shot him in arm leg and side-ALL NON LETHAL shots. The gun was never found…SO UNLIKE THE DANZINGER INCIDENT NO ONE ‘PLANTED’ ANY EVIDENCE! I would love to hear Mr McCann’s side of the story but he was shot in an apparent drug deal gone bad. I think it may be time for us to entertain the fact that some are citizens of questionable character were running amok after the storm and had to be dealt with. I also recognize that some police actions may have violated some laws and if that is the case those officers need to face the consequences of their actions(this appears to be happening to the Danzinger 7).As citizens we also have to support those officers who went out and hit the streets and tried to contain the stupidity. Google these two officers and see the kind of real heroics they have performed for the citizens of our city for years.I find it strange that all of these officers being investigated are not part of the “Compass/Riley posse” who sat around the Hyatt and waited for others to restore order. So if we are going to crucify”those who do” and not those who do not (Riley and co.) God help our city. If these men are going to take the heat for action in a real hot zone…well next time maybe all of Compass’ and Riley’s people will be the only cops in the city-I am sure all of the hotels they stay at will be safe.If that is the case, I for one will have to stay behind to protect my neighborhood if all the real cops are hogtied.

  • Eli

    I think that yes, if you want to look at each NOPD incident in isolation, the McCann case maybe doesn’t look as obviously criminal as the Danziger bridge cover-up and it might not yield any actual charges. Winn and Scheuermann were also allegedly involved in the the Glover case, which I think looks worse than the McCann case. But that’s kind of beside the point – we’re not dealing with isolated incidents. I don’t know how one looks at the totality of the allegations facing the NOPD before, during, and after the levee failure – the pattern and practice of corruption and intimidation over a generation or more – without coming away with the conclusion that our criminal justice institutions need to be very seriously confronted and without coming away with serious doubts about PANO’s leadership and ability to effectively represent the interests of honest officers.