NOPD

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Things have got to get better": a memorial to New Orleans murder victims since 2007

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 1:40 PM

Nakita Shavers, whose brother Dinerral Shavers was murdered in 2006, reads the names of murder victims at the Silence Is Violence 10-year anniversary outside City Hall Jan. 11.
  • Nakita Shavers, whose brother Dinerral Shavers was murdered in 2006, reads the names of murder victims at the Silence Is Violence 10-year anniversary outside City Hall Jan. 11.

On Jan. 11, 2007, hundreds of New Orleanians rallied outside City Hall following a violent 2006. That year, 162 people were killed, including band director and musician Dinerral Shavers, marking New Orleans with the highest per capita murder rate in the U.S. Shavers' death — and the Jan. 4, 2007 death of filmmaker and artist Helen Hill in her own home — sparked the group Silence Is Violence to campaign for peace and demand citywide protection from gun violence, especially in its most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Ten years later, following a violent 2016 in which 174 people were killed, a small crowd had gathered on the wet steps of City Hall to memorialize victims of violence from the last decade — not with a march, but with a solemn reading of the names of more than 2,000 people who have been killed in New Orleans since 2007. Family and friends of the victims — along with District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro and Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman — read the names of all of them, starting with Corey Hayes, 28, who was killed on New Year's Day 2007. Towering nearby was a sculpture by artist Mitchell Gaudet, an annual piece reflecting the previous year's murders with large pieces of broken glass representing each victim, and two revolvers mounted toward each other at its center.

"It's surreal to be here 10 years later," said Nakita Shavers, whose brother Dinerral was killed Dec. 28, 2006.

Deborah Reeder, whose son Chester Reeder III was killed near a Super Sunday parade in 2009, read the list of victims from that year. "It's difficult for me to read — my son is on this list, so bear with me," she said. "For all the names that will be read, I am sorry for our loss."

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Editorial: Jeff Landry is Louisiana's Barney Fife

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 2:32 PM

Not Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
  • Not Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
In a classic episode of The Andy Griffith Show, Sheriff Andy Taylor leaves town for the day, turning law enforcement over to his hapless, preening deputy Barney Fife. When Andy returns, he finds Barney has arrested half the town on charges such as “unlawful assembly” (Aunt Bee gossiping with friends outside the courthouse) and expects praise for cracking down on crime in Mayberry.

Turns out Louisiana has its own Barney Fife — Attorney General Jeff Landry.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

When the NOPD was on the lookout for Santa Claus

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 3:38 PM

This December 1973 issue of Our Beat*, the former New Orleans Police Department monthly newsletter, urged NOPD officers to be on the lookout for a rather drunk-and-disorderly-looking man going by the aliases "Saint Nick" and "Kris Kringle." Then-NOPD Superintendent Clarence Giarrusso urged anyone seeing this character to call the cops immediately.

The Louisiana Division of the City Archives shared this on the LOU/DIV Facebook page today...
COURTESY LOUISIANA DIVISION/CITY ARCHIVES
  • COURTESY LOUISIANA DIVISION/CITY ARCHIVES

* From the NOPD website:
Our Beat was the title given to the very first publication of the NOPD. The first issue - Vol. 1, No.1 - was issued on October 20, 1949. Our Beat was published monthly, serving as an internal newsletter for the department. It highlighted officer news including transfers, achievements and promotions, NOPD events and other happenings within the department. However, Our Beat ceased publication in the early 2000s, prior to Hurricane Katrina impacting the city.

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Friday, December 9, 2016

Jordan Flaherty on saviors, New Orleans, media and activism

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 11:59 AM

hi-res_cover.jpg
Jordan Flaherty's latest book, No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality, draws in part from his career as a reporter and TV producer — work that has taken him to sites of grassroots struggle around the world, but it's anchored in his home, New Orleans.

Mixed in with the movement for indigenous self-determination in Black Mesa and sex workers contesting the police state in Arizona are multiple local stories. Flaherty gives us a front-row seat for the cautionary tale of FBI snitch Brandon Darby, one of two white bros who came here from Austin and rose to power through Common Ground, living out the savior complex by launching a career at immense cost to the people he claimed to be rescuing and representing. On a more positive note, Flaherty also tells the story of the New Teachers' Roundtable, a New Orleans collective founded by three former Teach for America participants to push back against TFA and the charter school movement — educational "reforms" which function as a profitable large-scale weaponization of the savior complex.

The crux of this wide-ranging book is finding alternatives to activism's savior mentality, that hero model in which a person of privilege uses their genius or other exceptional qualities to "rescue" the less fortunate.


I came to Flaherty's book with wariness, braced for scolding — but instead found No More Heroes to be full of love and compassion, including towards those who fall into the traps of saviordom. 


At 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, the Community Book Center (2523 Bayou Road.) will host one of a series of book release events Flaherty has organized across the South, previewed here by Kat Stromquist.


Flaherty advocates going from "How can I be the single best white anti-racist activist with the sharpest critique / most specialized language / busiest schedule?" to "How can we find ways to bring more and more people into social justice work, from lots of entry points, to grow vibrant mass movements?" To clarify the answers, I sat down with Flaherty to discuss his book, journalism and activism.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Interview: Robert Sterling Hecker, New Orleans Harbor Police Chief and first-time crime novelist

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Robert Sterling Hecker.
  • Robert Sterling Hecker.

Some say “it’s never too late to follow your dreams,” but we all know how life has a way of beating down even the most modest ambitions. Goals are circumscribed by family obligations, the day-to-day slog of work, the banal repetition of doing laundry and cleaning the gutters. “I was born to do it” becomes “maybe someday” becomes “I just don’t have time.”

Well, that’s you (and me). Not so much for Robert Sterling Hecker, former Gambit New Orleanian of the Year, 49-year veteran of law enforcement and the author of The Accidental Vigilante, a hard-boiled crime thriller about a detective who stumbles into involvement in a series of murders and abductions when he’s promoted into the unit that handles child abuse crimes. (If that sounds short on intrigue, just wait until the detective uncovers a connection to the Russian mob.) Hecker, who currently serves as chief of the Harbor Police Department, has been waiting to write a novel since high school. He spent the past three years writing his fiction debut.

Hecker spoke with Gambit about being inspired by police work and being a first-time novelist at age 69. The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Alton Sterling peace vigil second line in New Orleans July 10

Posted By on Sun, Jul 10, 2016 at 12:27 PM

Alton Sterling
  • Alton Sterling

Alton Sterling Peace Vigil March and Second Line

Sunday, July 10, 2016 5-7pm

Today’s peace march and second line is being spearheaded by Charles ‘Action Jackson’, radio DJ for WWOZ radio and ‘second line ambassador’, to show support for the family of Alton Sterling, who was killed by Baton Rouge police officers. “I’m tired.”, says a weary sounding Jackson. “I am a young Black man, born and raised in 9th ward. Fo so much killing going on, nobody more on radio that has a voice than me. I have to use that voice to keep people calm, to work with the police.”

Jackson, who worked over 36 years in law enforcement, says he can relate to the stresses police officers are under. “They have to make split decisions.” But says the goal of today’s event is “to stop the killing, stop the violence. We come in peace. We want to help everyone stay calm.”

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Sidney Torres updates crime app, announces new patrol cars and a 'war room'

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2016 at 11:30 AM

Sidney Torres and one of the new French Quarter Task Force Smart cars. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Sidney Torres and one of the new French Quarter Task Force Smart cars.

Former garbage king and current crime-fighting real estate developer Sidney D. Torres IV announced a new fleet of vehicles and a "2.0" version of the French Quarter Task Force app he developed last year, described as the "Uber of policing" in the neighborhood.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

‘Drunk on violence’: Landrieu gives emotional address on New Orleans’ murder problem

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 10:33 PM

In this file photo, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NOPD Chief Michael Harrison address the media at a press conference. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • In this file photo, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and NOPD Chief Michael Harrison address the media at a press conference.
As New Orleanians and football fans around the country still reel from the shooting death of Saints defensive end Will Smith, Mayor Mitch Landrieu made an emotional plea to residents to help curb a local murder problem that he said has become “baked in” to the city’s culture.

“We are a city, we are a country that is drunk on violence,” Landrieu told a packed audience at a Tulane University auditorium for his address on violence in New Orleans. “And we need to wake up to this fact.”

Landrieu’s address was given two weeks after Smith was gunned in a car near his wife after being involved in a minor car accident, police said.

The incident prompted widespread reaction from city residents, antiviolence groups and fans near and far. During a second line held in Smith’s honor, several residents called the murder “senseless.”

But Landrieu reminded the crowd that it wasn’t occasional celebrity killings like Smith’s that prompted Louisiana to have the number one homicide rate in the nation.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Editorial: It takes a millage

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 11:10 AM

CREATIVE COMMONS/GARY J. WOOD
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GARY J. WOOD
If the state’s budget mess holds a lesson for local government, it’s that ideologically refusing to raise needed taxes while “cutting government spending” is sometimes an irresponsible course. On April 9, New Orleans voters will go to the polls to decide two propositions: a property tax of 7.5 mills for the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and the New Orleans Fire Department; and a $120 million bond issue for streets, public facilities and firefighting equipment. The former would help rebuild the NOPD and pay pensions owed to local firefighters. The latter would go mostly toward street repairs, with some for parks, buildings, fire trucks and land acquisition. Early voting has already begun and continues through this Saturday, April 2. We support both propositions.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New rules reduce penalties for pot possession

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 5:00 PM

pot.jpg
Pot smokers might receive only verbal and written warnings instead of fines and jail time if the New Orleans City Council gets behind a proposed ordinance to reduce penalties for simple pot possession.

District A Councilmember Susan Guidry — who helped pass a 2010 ordinance giving officers more discretion in giving first-time offenders a municipal summons instead of arresting them — introduced a new measure today in the Council's Criminal Justice Committee that expands those rules for all simple possession offenses, whether a first strike or fourth. The measure aims to free up the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) to focus on violent crime.

Under the new rules, officers can give a verbal warning for smokers with less than 14 grams of marijuana. A second offense carries a written warning, a third violation includes a fine of no more than $50, and a fourth offense carries a fine of no more than $100.

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