Scathing Report on New Orleans Police Highlights Racial Bias

A report released by the Justice Department on Thursday concludes that New Orleans police officers have used deadly force without justification, repeatedly made unconstitutional arrests and failed to adequately protect New Orleans residents.

It also concluded that the department has engaged in racial profiling. The Associated Press reports:

"NOPD use of force data also shows a troubling racial disparity that warrants a searching inquiry into whether racial bias influenced the use of force at NOPD," the report said.

"Of the 27 instances between January 2009 and May 2010 in which NOPD officers intentionally discharged their firearms at people, all 27 of the subjects of this deadly force were African-American," the report stated without specifying if any — or how many — were fatally wounded.

A review of "resisting arrest" reports documenting use of force over the same period found blacks were the subjects 81 out of 96 times.


What's to blame? A whole list of things: inadequate supervision, ineffective methods of taking and investigating complaints, poor recruitment, bad training, and ignorance and disregard of policies (which are often unclear in the first place), according to the findings.

The most sobering part is that these problems were so ingrained in the culture of the department that even Mayor Mitch Landrieu barely blinked an eye at the findings. "There's nobody in this room that is surprised by the general tenor and tone of what this report has to say," he said. The report includes 16 pages of recommendations to remedy the problems. That's a start. Hopefully the city won't waste any time implementing them. 

Read more at MSNBC.

In other news: Aristide Arrives in Haiti.

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