by Kevin Allman
Early this evening, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's office sent out a statement regarding the U.S. Department of Justice filing a motion in opposition to the City of New Orleans' recent motion to void the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) consent decree:
The DOJ’s filing today mischaracterizes our interactions over the last several years, especially as it relates to the OPP consent decree. We negotiated the NOPD decree in good faith, expecting the same from the DOJ. After extensive negotiations including cost considerations on the NOPD decree, the DOJ has demanded that the taxpayers of New Orleans fork over an ambiguous, unjustified sum of money for the prison decree. It is clear that both the prison and NOPD consent decrees cannot be paid for at this time without raising taxes or laying off or furloughing employees. And it does not make sense to lay off or furlough police officers so the Sheriff can hire more prison guards and pay them higher salaries.
We continue to move full speed ahead with reforming the New Orleans Police Department’s operations and practices. The DOJ itself has commended our reforms related to the K9 unit and homicide bureau, among others. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that “meaningful progress has already been made… Mayor Landrieu and Chief Serpas did not wait for our findings to begin the reform process.” The Mayor has a strong track record for reform and just recently, we announced that the City has completely reformed operations and practices at the Youth Study Center and has been released from a federal consent decree there. Additionally, the City is constructing a new, state of the art prison. Mayor Landrieu remains completely committed to completely transforming the NOPD.