In the first methodical reading I've done since college 25 years ago I just finished Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. (Thanks Inky!) It is an account of a man who stayed and witnessed the descent of New Orleans after Katrina. Coincidentally I finished it yesterday on the 4th anniversary of that storm.
In the sobering true tale, Zeitoun stayed in the city with his trusty canoe feeding dogs and helping neighbors after the flood. Then in a doozy case of racial profiling he was arrested and caged at a hastily constructed prison at the bus terminal known as Camp Greyhound. While people waited to be rescued in flooded homes, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security staged offensives against non-existent terrorist threats. While people suffered in the dome, they built prisons. Residents were arrested without cause, detained without charge and physically and mentally abused without consequence.
As it turns out, one of those who arrested Zeitoun in his home for looting without benefit of evidence, was a deputy from New Mexico (one of Sheriff Darren White's no doubt) who was sent to New Orleans. You know, to help people.
The New Mexico team arrived a few days after the storm, were sworn in as deputies, and began to assist with search and rescue operations. Before arriving in New Orleans, Gonzales and his fellow officers had heard a lot about the conditions in the city, and they were tense. They had heard about shootings, rapes, gangs of heavily armed and fearless men. They saw no such crime, but they saw plenty of death. ...
Gonzales was asked how he felt about the fact that Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a middle-aged businessman and father of four, had done a month in maximum-security prison. Gonzales seemed regretful. "If he was innocent, then I feel very bad," her said. "here's the bottom line: I wouldn't want something like that to happen to me personally."
Gonzales talked about how the system is supposed to work: police officers investigate, make arrests, and then hand the process over to the judicial system. Under normal circumstances, if the men were innocent, he maintained, they would have been given a phone call and the opportunity to post bail. "They should have gotten a phone call" he said.
From a book review in Amazon:
"Eggers does a masterful job weaving Zeitoun’s story together to
show the multiple dimensions of his experience—Zeitoun’s belief in
America’s highest ideals and principles and shock at their violation,
his love of his community, his family’s fears and his current efforts
to put this sad chapter behind him to focus on the real work at
hand—rebuilding his home, New Orleans. This book and story will go down
in history as many narratives do that recount incredibly transformative
times in our nation’s history. What is so heartening is that Eggers
avoids telling a 'Muslim' story and instead tells an important and rich
American story through the experience of an exceptional American family
that is Muslim, nothing more and nothing less."
— Jordan Robinson, altmuslim