Justice Dept Issues Report on New Orleans Police Misconduct

The Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, has issued a report finding the New Orleans police department engaged in misconduct that violated the Constitution and federal laws.

Among the findings are that the police department has used excessive force, made unconstitutional stops and searches, and illegally profiled people based on race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The investigation also found a number of practices that contributed to the illegal conduct, including failed systems for recruiting and promoting officers, poor training and lack of supervision, among others.

The report finds the misconduct is "serious, wide-ranging, systemic and deeply rooted in the culture of the department." [More...]

Investigators found that officers "regularly used excessive force as retaliation" but that in six years, not one officer-involved shooting violated policy. In some cases, there were attempts to prevent the prosecution of officers, Perez said.

They also found that officers did not know the law regarding legal stops, searches and arrests. The system at the police department favored quantity of arrests over quality, Perez said.

Also cited: police harrassment of gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgenders individuals.

The DOJ announcement by Deputy Attorney General James Cole is here.

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    Not To Sound Overly Cynical (none / 0) (#1)
    by The Maven on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 05:01:07 PM EST
    but has there been any time in recent memory when any of this hasn't been the case for the New Orleans P.D.?  My recollection is that these findings almost seem tame compared with the abuses and corruption that were associated with the NOPD roughly 20 or so years ago.

    And while it sounds admirable for Deputy AG Cole to say, "Our goal is not to criticize the police department's operations and walk away. . .  We are dedicated to working with the city and the police department to fix what's broken," what kind of follow-through can actually be expected, and what action would the DOJ potentially take if their recommendations aren't implemented and adhered to?  Otherwise, this is all carrot and no stick.

    One option (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 05:32:42 PM EST
    The City of Detroit's police department entered into two consent decrees with the DOJ regarding the use of force and detention policies.

    It's been in force for a few years now.

    The DOJ could do something like this with New Orleans.


    Perhaps I miss-remember (none / 0) (#3)
    by Rojas on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 09:38:42 PM EST
    Didn't the DOJ used to just kick ass and take names?
    Is this where we are at...... compliance audits?

    Exactly what makes the NOPD (none / 0) (#4)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 08:31:26 AM EST
    any different than most other police departments in the United States. From what I read, they haven't engaged in any behavior not practiced by nearly every other PD in the country. Police are special, the laws don't apply to them. They all get special privileges because they do such a dangerous job. And they never lie, cheat or beat their wives.