Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lawyer demands more information on Allen shooting, threatens to sue city

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Tracie Washington of the Louisiana Justice Institute said today that she will file suit against the city of New Orleans if it doesn't release more details about last week's fatal police officer shooting of 20-year-old Wendell Allen by the close of the business day on Wednesday, March 14.

Washington said she's requested the following:

1. Names of all officers involved in the Allen raid and the Public Integrity Bureau (PIB) files for each.

2. The New Orleans Police Department's use of force policy and policies on officer-involved shooting investigations by PIB.

3. A detailed status update on the progress of ongoing negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice to establish a consent decree.

4. The names of the FBI agents working with the Public Integrity Bureau.

"These are not just empty demands," Washington said in a press conference. "We are prepared to take action."

(Continued below the jump)

Washington is also demanding that District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro convene a grand jury to investigate the shooting, that the New Orleans Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson be allowed unfettered access to "all shooting related crime scenes," that the FBI is called in to investigate all officer-involved shootings, that DOJ opens an investigation into NOPD shootings and allegations of excessive uses of force and that Mayor Mitch Landrieu attend a community meeting to discuss community distrust of NOPD.

Of particular concern to Washington, she said, is the fact — reported by WDSU — that Officer Josh Colclough, identified by NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas as Allen's shooter, has not yet been questions by PIB and homicide investigators.

"It is untenable and unprecedented" to have gone nearly a week without questioning an officer who's shot a civilian in the line of duty, Washington said. She said the department told her that policy allows a waiting period before questioning officers in such cases. "We've heard there's a new 48-hour rule, then it was a 72-hour rule ... It has now been nearly seven days."

Update at 5:35 p.m.
: Landrieu spokesman Ryan Berni has emailed the following statement in response to Washington's demands:

On his third day in office, Mayor Landrieu invited the Department of Justice to partner with him to reform the New Orleans Police Department. Since that time, we have worked cooperatively with the DOJ on developing policies and procedures that will lead to a transformation of the NOPD. The City and federal government are currently negotiating terms of the consent decree.

Regarding public records, the City Attorney’s office releases records pursuant to state laws.


Washington also read the following statement from Allen's family:

To whom it may concern:

We the family of Wendell Allen would like to thank the community for the outpouring of support, compassion and prayers through our time of heartache. The community has been our comfort and inspiration to forge ahead. The show of support has encouraged us to seek justice for our shocking loss. We would also like to thank the various media outlets for taking our words, thought and feelings to those we would otherwise not be able to reach.

A memorial fund has been established at Capital One Bank. Anyone who would like to make monetary donations may do so by: visiting a branch and asking for the Wendell Allen account, by wire or electronic funds transfer account number 5627217244 routing number 065000090. Persons who would like to contact the family can do so via email at justice4wendellallen@gmail.com

Gracefully yours,

The Family of Wendell Allen

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