A fairness hearing in U.S. District Court on the proposed consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), first scheduled for August 29, is now set for Sept. 21 at DOJ’s request. The hearing was previously delayed twice — to Sept. 5 and Sept. 12 — due to the effects of Hurricane Isaac. This week, the federal government filed for the most recent continuance because Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin, who led a 2010-2011 investigation into the police department, will be unavailable on Sept. 12.
The hearing is required before the sweeping federal oversight agreement can be finalized and enacted by federal Judge Susie Morgan. In her order setting the new date, Morgan offered to allow four parties who unsuccessfully attempted to intervene in court negotiations — officers’ associations the Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Association of New Orleans, citizens’ group Community United for Change and the Office of the Independent Police Monitor — to submit proposed questions they would like Morgan to ask the city and DOJ during the hearing.