HRC Blog

New Orleans PD Addressing Discriminatory Policing

Earlier this week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a 122-page consent decree between the U.S. Government and the City of New Orleans that provides a plan to overhaul practices of the New Orleans Police Department.  The plan addresses many forms of discriminatory policing, including discriminatory policing of the LGBT community. According to Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez, “this landmark consent decree is the most comprehensive agreement the Civil Rights Division has ever entered into with a police department, and it will serve as a blue print for reform for departments across the country.”

One of the goals of the consent decree is to encourage "bias-free policing." As such, NOPD has agreed to develop and implement policies to guide officers' interactions with LGBT residents.  NOPD has also agreed to treat all LGBT individuals with professionalism and respect.  For example, the plan requires police officers to address transgender individuals with their chosen name and pronoun, as well as refraining from more invasive and frequent frisk procedures based on an individual’s gender identity.

This agreement comes in the wake of a report, issued by the Department of Justice in 2011, finding that the NOPD had been engaging in patterns and practices of illegal discrimination against members of the New Orleans community. The extensive report, which has over 100 pages of findings and recommendations, explains that discrimination against LGBT individuals has included targeting, unjustified arrest, harassment, and physical and sexual abuse by members of NOPD.

The agreement calls for continued independent monitoring and judicial oversight of NOPD for several years to ensure compliance with the agreement. Moving forward, NOPD hopes the agreement will improve officer recruitment and training, effectively address misconduct-complaint issues and monitor the lucrative off-duty work assignments that had become a potent source of corruption.

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