NOPD

Friday, May 26, 2017

New Orleans sexual assault survivors speak out against DA; Cannizzaro's office responds

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 10:15 PM

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Steps away from the Orleans Parish District Attorney's office May 26, rape survivors and advocates called out what they said was chronic negligence and apathy towards sexual assault cases within the New Orleans criminal justice system. A new group, Judicial Reforms For Sex Crimes (JSRC), urges police and prosecutors to end discrimination against survivors of sexual assault, and encourages other survivors to share their stories. Several survivors shared their stories and invited others to do the same.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Landrieu: New Orleans is "fully compliant" under Jeff Sessions' "sanctuary" definition

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 5:56 PM

New Orleanians marched against President Donald Trump's immigration orders in January. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • New Orleanians marched against President Donald Trump's immigration orders in January.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said New Orleans "is not and has never been a sanctuary city" following a memo from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that clarifies President Donald Trump's executive order to crack down on so-called "sanctuary" policies prohibiting local cops from working with federal immigration authorities. Sessions' definition of "sanctuary" policies appears to keep New Orleans out of federal scrutiny, for now.

"It appears that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security heard the call from mayors and police chiefs — that our local police should be focused on fighting violent crime and building trust with the communities they serve,” Landrieu said in a statement.

Landrieu has repeatedly ensured New Orleans' compliance with the feds in regards to people living in the country illegally — the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), under a federal consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice, does not ask about an individual's immigration status, but the department is not explicitly prohibited from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Landrieu sent a letter to Sessions last month detailing NOPD's policies and urging the feds to "stay focused on the real problem and stop scapegoating the immigrant communities and cities."

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Monday, May 22, 2017

'Know Your Rights' ACLU workshop May 25 provides training for interacting with police

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 2:00 PM

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On May 25, ACLU hosts a workshop at New Orleans Public Library's Alvar branch about interacting with authorities. Participants' questions will guide a short tutorial from ACLU organizers about one's legal and constitutional rights when engaging with police and similar authority figures, such as Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). It's a workshop which could be useful for political activists of all stripes, people with criminal records, people who previously have had contentious interactions with cops, members of historically marginalized communities and others.

ACLU also publishes a list of resources regarding one's rights in several scenarios, such as the right to take photos in various situations, youth rights when dealing with police, rights in the face of voter intimidation and a host of other topics.

The workshop takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday; it's designed for adults but teens are welcome to participate. It's free to attend.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New barricades go up across from the Jefferson Davis monument

Posted By on Wed, May 10, 2017 at 3:17 PM

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The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) has erected new barricades — reminiscent of the ones put up on Lee Circle this weekend — on the neutral ground across Canal Street from the Jefferson Davis statue. Temporary "No Parking" signs also have gone up on Canal Street and Jefferson Davis Parkway near the statue, in effect through May 12.

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Lee Circle march faces white supremacist groups as New Orleans prepares to take down Confederate-era statues

Posted By on Sun, May 7, 2017 at 11:00 PM

At Lee Circle May 7, white supremacist groups and monument supporters were separated from a massive group calling for the removal of Confederate-era monuments in New Orleans - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • At Lee Circle May 7, white supremacist groups and monument supporters were separated from a massive group calling for the removal of Confederate-era monuments in New Orleans

The horns of the New Creations Brass Band powered a massive march to celebrate the removal of four Confederate-era monuments in New Orleans. Winding through the French Quarter from Congo Square to the steps of Lee Circle, hundreds of people joined the "second line" led by longtime civil rights advocates who have fought for years against white supremacist statues in New Orleans.

Last month, the city removed the first of four monuments scheduled for removal from the city's landscape following two years of debate, legal challenges and court rulings that ultimately gave the city approval to take them down.

The May 7 march was met by a few dozen white supremacists and monument supporters who gathered at the foot of the Robert E. Lee monument to wave Confederate flags and flags bearing the symbol of white nationalist group League of the South. Some wore baseball helmets, face masks, shin guards and armored vests — the uniform of an emerging paramilitary arm of the emboldened "alt-right" — and came armed with flagpoles, shields, pepper spray and guns.

With some traveling as far as California, the mostly out-of-town crowd of monument supporters came prepared to do battle with "antifa" and deliver a bloody response in the wake of April's clashes in Berkeley, California, while narratives on right-wing websites hyped a new "Battle of New Orleans."

Instead they were met by members and supporters of Take 'Em Down NOLA and other civil rights and workers groups — many of the same people who have marched repeatedly against the monuments, police violence, and Donald Trump's administration and policies, among other issues — all dancing alongside a brass band and a DJ blasting music from a truck.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Scuffles, tense moments at Jefferson Davis statue in Mid-City overnight

Posted By on Tue, May 2, 2017 at 2:30 AM

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The "monument defenders" who have been camped out at the Jefferson Davis statue on Canal Street in Mid-City were met by dozens of counterprotesters late Monday night, who staged a theatrical arrival, Les Miserables-style, on the back of a truck waving RESIST flags. On the side of the truck was a sign reading "FUCK OFF NAZI SCUM."

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Landrieu: letter threatening to pull funding over immigration issues is "another example of the Trump Administration acting before doing their homework"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 at 5:25 PM

CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER

New Orleans is among nine jurisdictions targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which threatens to cut federal funding unless they can prove compliance with the feds over their "sanctuary" policies.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has repeatedly asserted to the administration of President Donald Trump that the New Orleans Police Department and Orleans Parish Sheriffs Office — both of which are under DOJ federal consent decrees — obey federal law, and that New Orleans is not a so-called "sanctuary city" for people living the country illegally.

Today, the DOJ sent letters "requiring proof of compliance," or else. "Many of these jurisdictions are also crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime," according to a press release from the department. "The letters remind the recipient jurisdictions that, as a condition for receiving certain financial year 2016 funding from [the DOJ], each of these jurisdictions agreed to provide documentation and an opinion from legal counsel validating that they are in compliance."

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Trump suspends weekly immigration reports including New Orleans and cities that "limit cooperation" with feds

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.
  • Protesters in New Orleans march against Trump's immigration orders in January.

Three weeks later, the Trump administration has suspended its weekly reports listing cities and local law enforcement that "limit cooperation" with federal immigration authorities. The reports listed jurisdictions that declined  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers requesting local law enforcement to maintain custody of people living in the country illegally — New Orleans landed on that list for the New Orleans Police Department’s (NOPD) policy to “not honor a detainer without a judicial order or criminal warrant,” according to the report.

The reports aimed to pressure law enforcement and cities with so-called “sanctuary” policies to comply with President Donald Trump’s ramped-up enforcement of immigration actions. But after three reports and complaints of inaccuracy, corrections and clarifications from cities with orders from the Department of Justice that didn’t satisfy new DHS procedure, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suspended the practice, “based on a desire to make sure that we have quality data [and] that the information we’re publishing is as accurate as we can be,” according to DHS spokesman David Lapan, speaking to CNN.

The administration hasn't defined "sanctuary" policy — in its reports, DHS says it "continues to evaluate the appropriate criteria" to define what exactly "sanctuary" policies are.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Consent decree or not, NOPD Chief Harrison wants "fair, constitutional policing"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 6:30 PM

NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison: "I remain committed and every member of my team remains committed to police reform." - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison: "I remain committed and every member of my team remains committed to police reform."

In a recent memo to the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered an “immediate review” of all department activities, including all existing and planned consent decrees with law enforcement agencies. “Local control and local accountability are necessary for local policing,” Sessions wrote. “It is not the role of the federal government to manage non-federal law agencies.”

Since 2009, according to The Washington Post, the department has opened 25 investigations into law enforcement agencies and enforced 14 consent decrees, among other agreements, in the wake of civil rights violations and corruption in police departments around the U.S. Those agreements include consent decrees with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, overseen by U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, and New Orleans Police Department (NOPD), overseen by U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan. Since 2013, DOJ reforms within NOPD — detailed in nearly 500 points on more than 100 pages — aim to overhaul nearly everything within the department, from anti-bias measures and profiling to how officers handle domestic violence cases, efforts to ensure “constitutional policing” across the board.

Former U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite — who was asked to leave his post even after he submitted his resignation as President Donald Trump cleaned house — said Sessions’ memo isn’t enough to end the agreements. “Not sure if Sessions knows this,” Polite said on Twitter, “but he can't stop Judges Africk and Morgan from ensuring that our NOLA consent decrees move forward.”

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Transgender community offers policy changes to city officials and NOPD

Posted By on Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 9:30 PM

Jada Mercedes Cardona, left, leads a town hall meeting March 10 with New Orleans City Councilmembers Jason Williams and LaToya Canttell with NOPD's LGBT liaison Frank Robertson.
  • Jada Mercedes Cardona, left, leads a town hall meeting March 10 with New Orleans City Councilmembers Jason Williams and LaToya Canttell with NOPD's LGBT liaison Frank Robertson.

Jada Mercedes Cardona knew at 4 years old. "It felt right. I ran to my mom to tell her what I discovered, and what was going to happen now?" Cardona told a crowd at First Unitarian Universalist Church. "Instead of being received with hugs, kisses, understanding and love, I got beaten, and made to proclaim, several times, that I would never repeat those words to anyone again."

Cardona began transitioning at age 35, after living as a gay man, and was tortured by low self-esteem and "a cycle of hate I still struggle with today" — an "internalized oppression," she said, "so much so that you can't see anything good about yourself."

"Living in one's truth isn't easy," Cardona said.  "I lost everything from living in my truth."

Cardona founded the transgender advocacy group Transitions Louisiana, which hosted a town hall meeting March 10 following the recent deaths of three transgender women in Louisiana — including two people in New Orleans — after one of the most deadly years for transgender people in the U.S.

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