New Orleans Independent Police Monitor (IPM) Susan Hutson has told Gambit that by the end of 2011, her office will have investigated between 250 and 275 misconduct complaints against the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD). However, a recent influx of complaints from protesters associated with Occupy New Orleans could push that tally over the projected mark.
According to IPM spokeswoman Ursula Price, two incidents — the police eviction of Occupy New Orleans and the unpermitted Krewe of Eris second-line parade last March 6, in which 12 people were arrested amid allegations of police violence — will account for more than 200 such complaints. "We had at least 150 from Eris in March, and I'm looking at about another 50 here," Price said.
Price, along with Hutson and Deputy Police Monitor Simone Levine, had not finished a review of every affidavit from Occupy New Orleans protesters. Lawyers for the group, however, estimated they turned over more than 100. "The primary complaint is just damage to property" from the early morning eviction of the group's Duncan Plaza encampment on Dec. 6, Price said. That morning, an estimated 150 people were told to leave the park and given 30 minutes to do so. Anything left behind after that time was destroyed. In spite of protesters' claims of losses totaling thousands of dollars, Price said she is yet to see any details "about the value of the items so far in the complaints I've read."
Price said that after IPM reads and records the details of the complaints, they will be turned over to the NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau for an internal investigation. — Maldonado