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News :: Race
Katrina Evacuees arrested in Ma. and RI.
22 Sep 2005
The Racist Rommney orders Katrina Evacuees screened with criminal background checks.
In South Carolina, state police checked every evacuee flown there by the government. Of 547 people checked, 301 had criminal records, according to Robert Stewart, state Law Enforcement Division Chief.

While most had been law-abiding for years or had committed minor offenses, the group included those convicted of rape or aggravated assault. Two had warrants, but were not held because the states weren't interested in extraditing them.

"This was all done for everyone's protection," Stewart said. "If you're going to be sheltering people, it would be prudent for people taking them in to know what criminal pasts they might have."

The state police in West Virginia said roughly half of the nearly 350 Katrina victims evacuated by the government to that state had criminal records, and 22 percent have a history of committing a violent crime.

In Massachusetts, where about 200 evacuees were flown to a military base on Cape Cod, criminal background checks turned up six sex offenders and one man wanted for rape in Louisiana. Two of the sex offenders have since left the state, said Katie Ford, a spokeswoman for the state public safety office. The rape suspect was being held on $250,000 bail.

In Tennessee, police checked every federal evacuee flown to Knoxville and found outstanding warrants for two people in Louisiana — but Louisiana did not want to extradite them.

In Texas, with more than 300,000 refugees, local officials have run 20,000 criminal background checks on evacuees, as well as the relief workers helping them and people who have opened up their homes.

Most of the checks have found little for police to be concerned about. Philadelphia police found no criminals as of the middle of last week, even though the local ACLU branch objected to the checks themselves.

Several states with thousands of refugees aren't checking criminal backgrounds at all. Missouri has no formal effort to check its 6,000 refugees. Neither has California, which reported about 3,800 refugees earlier this month, or Maryland, Minnesota and Michigan, which together took in several thousand evacuees.

In Middletown, a community just north of Newport, several evacuees shrugged at the prospect of background checks and said they understood the state's desire to learn more about them.

"I would like to know if there's any skeletons in the closet with my neighbors or the community," said one refugee, 38-year-old Carmen Williams.

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rest of the story here
22 Sep 2005
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. — After Hurricane Katrina (search) hit New Orleans, federal officials flew Brian Murph and more than 100 other victims to Rhode Island. They were greeted by the governor and cheered by residents.

Then the handcuffs were placed on Murph.

State police did criminal background checks (search) on every refugee and found that more than half had a criminal arrest records — a third for felonies. Murph was the only one with an outstanding arrest warrant, for larceny and other crimes.

Around the nation, state and local authorities are checking refugees' pasts as they are welcomed into homes, schools, houses of worship and housing projects. In some states, half the refugees have rap sheets.

"It's a balancing act," said Kyle Smith, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (search). "We don't want to treat them like criminals after they have been traumatized, but we want to make sure they are in no danger nor the families they are housed with."

In South Carolina, state police checked every evacuee flown there by the government. Of 547 people checked, 301 had criminal records, according to Robert Stewart, state Law Enforcement Division Chief.

While most had been law-abiding for years or had committed minor offenses, the group included those convicted of rape or aggravated assault. Two had warrants, but were not held because the states weren't interested in extraditing them.

"This was all done for everyone's protection," Stewart said. "If you're going to be sheltering people, it would be prudent for people taking them in to know what criminal pasts they might have."

The state police in West Virginia said roughly half of the nearly 350 Katrina victims evacuated by the government to that state had criminal records, and 22 percent have a history of committing a violent crime.

In Massachusetts, where about 200 evacuees were flown to a military base on Cape Cod, criminal background checks turned up six sex offenders and one man wanted for rape in Louisiana. Two of the sex offenders have since left the state, said Katie Ford, a spokeswoman for the state public safety office. The rape suspect was being held on $250,000 bail.

In Tennessee, police checked every federal evacuee flown to Knoxville and found outstanding warrants for two people in Louisiana — but Louisiana did not want to extradite them.

In Texas, with more than 300,000 refugees, local officials have run 20,000 criminal background checks on evacuees, as well as the relief workers helping them and people who have opened up their homes.

Most of the checks have found little for police to be concerned about. Philadelphia police found no criminals as of the middle of last week, even though the local ACLU branch objected to the checks themselves.

Several states with thousands of refugees aren't checking criminal backgrounds at all. Missouri has no formal effort to check its 6,000 refugees. Neither has California, which reported about 3,800 refugees earlier this month, or Maryland, Minnesota and Michigan, which together took in several thousand evacuees.

In Middletown, a community just north of Newport, several evacuees shrugged at the prospect of background checks and said they understood the state's desire to learn more about them.

"I would like to know if there's any skeletons in the closet with my neighbors or the community," said one refugee, 38-year-old Carmen Williams.
Re: Katrina Evacuees arrersted in Ma. and RI.
23 Sep 2005
I fail to see how you can claim that Romney is a racist for doing background checks on ALL evacuees. It would be racist if they only did checks on people from select ethinic groups, but that is not what happened.

I also fail to see how this is a bad thing if it caught someone who was wanted for rape. I understand that people have a right to privacy and I am not a fan of Ramney by any means, but I would expect the police to know if I or someone else had criminal record anyway.
Imagine Rove Getting A Background Check.
23 Sep 2005
Karl Rove...Committed FELONY crimes by outing Ms. Plame, Undercover CIA agent to Robert Novak.
Now Karl Rove is in charge of rebuilding New Orleans. (Ironic.)
Here's a guy who should be in Federal Prison. Since he broke a Federal Crime.
I don't give a shit about these peddley-ass stories. I DO give a shit about the criminals in and around the White House!
Sooo many politicians breaking the law. NONE of them going to prison.
End the stupid war NOW!
Re: Katrina Evacuees arrested in Ma. and RI.
23 Sep 2005
if you cant see the racism here then you are part of the problem and most likely a racist yourself get used to it bigots
Contrasts in race
23 Sep 2005
The day the massachusetts State police start checking the criminal history of every white business traveler getting on and off a plan at logan and not just for "criminal histories" of hurricane survivors who happen to be 90% african american I will reconsider the race component of this absurdity.
Re: Katrina Evacuees arrested in Ma. and RI.
25 Sep 2005
Actually, the evacuees who landed in New England were about 50 percent white 40 percent black and 10 percent other races. All got background checks. You people who are assuming that only blacks were evacuated are the racists.