The New Orleans City Attorney's Office filed a motion Jan. 31 to void the federal consent decree regarding the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), citing alleged misconduct by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in negotiating and finalizing the agreement. The motion was filed late in the afternoon, barely making the deadline U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan set when she signed the decree on Jan. 11.
In its complaint, the city faulted the feds for their use of disgraced former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone as a "point person" in consent decree negotiations. The city's position is that Perricone acted in bad faith and with an ulterior motive — namely, that Perricone wanted NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas' job. A submitted exhibit, described as a 2010 list of resumes for the job, includes Perricone's name.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a strong proponent of the 492-point consent decree when it was unveiled last summer, changed course in recent months, citing the $55 million cost of implementation on top of expected costs associated with the Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) consent decree, which was preliminarily approved by Judge Lance Africk on Jan. 22. The city indicated it would file a motion for relief when Morgan approved it last month.
In addition, the city now claims DOJ failed to disclose the expected costs of the OPP consent decree, which it was negotiating simultaneously.
Landrieu's office declined to comment on the motion, saying it spoke for itself. — Charles Maldonado