Justice Dept. Wants New Orleans Police under Court Supervision
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is so out of control, with 20 current or former officers facing criminal prosecution, that the U.S. Department of Justice wants a federal court to take over supervision of the force.
A move by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to seek a consent decree placing the NOPD under court authority comes as federal investigators released a report detailing the myriad problems the city has with its law enforcement. Justice officials say police have exhibit a pattern of discriminatory behavior, routinely use “unnecessary and unreasonable” force, and consistently fail to discipline officers involved in misconduct.
New Orleans police have been caught trying to cover up shootings of civilians, leading federal investigators to note in their report: “NOPD’s mishandling of officer-involved shooting investigations was so blatant and egregious that it appeared intentional in some respects.”
One former and two current officers were convicted in December of participating in the murder of a man and incineration of his body following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The police force faced a rash of controversies in the mid-1990s, but the Justice Department then decided not to seek a consent decree and allowed a new chief, Richard Pennington, to implement reforms. Those changes apparently did not “stick,” according to ProPublica, once the Pennington departed in 2002.
Feds Find ‘Systemic Violations of Civil Rights’ by New Orleans Police Department (by AC Thompson, ProPublica)
Investigation of the New Orleans Police Department (U.S. Department of Justice)
5 New Orleans Police Officers Indicted in Henry Glover Murder Case (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
New Orleans Police Officer Pleads Guilty in Post-Katrina Killing Cover-Up (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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