City wants NOPD consent decree tossed out - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

City wants NOPD consent decree tossed out

New Orleans, La. -

The City of New Orleans has formally requested that the NOPD consent decree be thrown out.

In new court documents, the city begins its argument to vacate the consent decree saying it no longer believes the U.S. Department of Justice can be a partner to reform the NOPD.  The city says it was misled by the DOJ about a separate consent decree it was negotiating with Orleans Parish Prison, and how much that would cost the city.

Mayor Landrieu first expressed concerns on January 11, the day U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan approved the agreement.

"I think the Justice Department has not been as forthright with us as they could have been, and this entire Sheriff's Office consent decree has thrown the whole thing up in the air and in question," said Landrieu. "What is not in question is my commitment to reform the New Orleans Police Department."

Now, two other huge arguments are part of the city's motion to vacate.

The filing cites the online blogging scandal involving former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone, who helped negotiate the consent decree.

For the first time, the city reveals that Perricone applied to be police chief of New Orleans, even posting online under an assumed name, "Mitch, get Letten or one of his boys or girls to be the next chief."

When Ronal Serpas got the job instead, the city says Perricone took aim, trying to sway public opinion against Serpas, the NOPD and the paid detail system.

"All of this could have been avoided -- the cost of the consent decree, an appeal -- if the city would have done its homework in advance," says Raymond Burkart, III, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police.

Burkart says the city's final argument has been part of the discussion all along.

The city now says it's concerned the paid detail reforms won't comply with federal labor law. Questions remain about who pays the taxes, and whether officers would get paid at an overtime rate if the city handles the details.

Burkart says, "The city was warned about this and now they're crying foul. Why sign anything without getting the costs and figures beforehand?"

The bottom line: The city wants out of the historic agreement to reform the NOPD. The Department of Justice has until February 15 to file its response.

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