The city of New Orleans and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last week filed motions opposing four requests to intervene in federal court hearings leading up to and following the finalization of the New Orleans Police Department's (NOPD) proposed consent decree. The four parties seeking official involvement are the Office of the Independent Police Monitor (IPM), the Police Association of New Orleans (PANO), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and Community United for Change.
The city's filing attempts to refute accusations from the groups that negotiations leading to the proposed agreement were closed off from the community and interested parties.
"During negotiations, the Department of Justice and the City consulted repeatedly with a broad swath of stakeholders to ensure that all interested parties have had and will have their interests fairly considered in the substance and implementation of the Decree," the city's filing says.
DOJ's much longer response argues that because the entire city and not just the groups hoping to intervene will be affected by the agreement, none should be granted "special status" as parties to the case. Moreover, the DOJ filing states, none of the groups seeking to be included were able to show that any part of the agreement would infringe on their rights or legally protected property. Rather than granting intervenor status, it says, the court should be open to accepting amicus filings from interested parties.
A hearing on the motions to intervene is set for Aug. 20 at 2 p.m. in U.S. District Court. A hearing on the overall consent decree is scheduled Aug. 29. — Charles Maldonado