The New Orleans-based grassroots organization Community United for Change today filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking to be involved in litigation leading to the finalization of the proposed New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) federal consent decree. The group's filing follows yesterday's motion to intervene by the Fraternal Order of Police.
The group argues that the current litigants, the city of New Orleans (and the NOPD) and the U.S. Department of Justice don't properly represent New Orleans residents. From the memorandum in support:
CUC represents the voices of the people and the communities who have borne the brunt of the illegal and unconstitutional abuses of the NOPD for decades. These people and these communities are not satisfied with mild changes where the NOPD polices its own improvements. This is not a situation for rearranging band aids. This is a human rights situation that calls for major surgery.
(More after the jump)
The proposed agreement, the group says, is fundamentally lacking because, it argues, citizen oversight isn't enough a part of it. From the motion:
The primary deficiency in the consent decree is its unrealistic reliance on the NOPD to
monitor, improve and self-correct itself. Why should anyone be confident the NOPD can change 3
Case 2:12-cv-01924-SM-JCW Document 11 Filed 08/07/12 Page 4 of 6
itself? Over the past several decades there have been numerous attempts to reform the NOPD but these attempts have been successfully resisted and evaded by the NOPD. In order to have a real chance to propose and enforce real changes, the consent decree must include the creation of a strong independent civilian oversight committee (COC) constructed by grassroots community organizations which has real power to investigate both individual and systemic complaints and claims of illegal behavior against NOPD. This COC should review all discharge of firearms, all uses of tasers, and all complaints of police misconduct, brutality, or violations of law and regulations.
In the next paragraph, the organization criticizes the process used to select police chiefs in New Orleans, suggesting that it should be led by "a search committee of grassroots organizations." It then goes on to say that the four-year term of the proposed consent decree is too short:
The consent decree must be for a much longer term than four years. It took decades for
the culture of corruption described by the DOJ to grow and flourish, it will take a lot longer than 4 years for it to be rooted out and replaced by a culture of respect and accountability.
The proposed consent decree is scheduled for an August 29 hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan.
The motion to intervene: CUCMotion.pdf
Memorandum in support: CUCMemoinSupport.pdf
Community United for Change's 2010 "People's Consent Decree," submitted as an exhibit with today's filing: PeoplesConsentDecree.pdf