The FBI will assign two agents to the New Orleans Police Department’s internal affairs division, providing another indication of the serious problems with law enforcement in that city, nola.com reported.
“It’s the right thing to do at the right time,” the news website quoted David Welker, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans division as saying. “This relationship is not designed to make the FBI the NOPD’s Big Brother.”
The city’s Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said, “These two agents will work closely with us on systems of corruption, on civil rights investigations and to help in our in-service training programs.”
The FBI made a similar decision in 1995, when it assigned agents to the city’s police department.
Earlier this year, the Justice Department completed a year-long probe of the New Orleans Police Department, ripping it for systematic “unconstitutional conduct,” saying officers regularly used excessive force, stopped and searched people for no reason and discriminated against minorities.
New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu (D) had requested the DOJ probe, saying he wanted a “complete transformation” of his police department.
The investigation found that the NOPD routinely used unnecessary and unreasonable force, stopped and searched people for no apparent reason and discriminated on the basis of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The department failed to adequately investigate allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence, and failed to provide services to people with limited knowledge of English.
The city and the Justice Department are working on a consent decree to enforce needed reforms.
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