A fairness hearing on the proposed consent decree between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), originally scheduled for Aug. 29 in U.S. District Court, is now set for Sept. 21 at the DOJ's request. The hearing has been delayed twice — to Sept. 5 and Sept. 12 — because of Hurricane Isaac.
Last week, the federal government requested the most recent continuance because Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin, who led a 2010-2011 investigation into NOPD, was unavailable on Sept. 12.
The hearing is required before the sweeping federal oversight agreement can be finalized and ordered effective by U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan. In her order setting the new date, Morgan offered to allow four parties who unsuccessfully attempted to intervene in court negotiations (the Fraternal Order of Police, the Police Association of New Orleans, the citizens' group Community United for Change and the Office of the Independent Police Monitor) to submit questions they would like Morgan to ask the city and the DOJ during the hearing. — Charles Maldonado