Okay, I remember NOPD being labeled as the most corrupt police department in the country. I mean, it was just a known fact. But I had always heard of it being money and drugs related. The newest reports are *not* what I think of when I think of corruption. I mean, the cops were taking pay-offs. And it was a pretty sure bet that if you were arrested, you’d better be willing to pay for a little protection.
Now? You’d better be able to fight for your life.
It’s gotten so bad that the Department of Justice is moving in.
This saddens me. It really does. Citizens should be able to trust the police.
Spit on the sidewalk here, and you may be arrested – New Orleans has the highest incarceration rate of any city in the United States – and if you’re poor and black and can’t pay bail, you will enter a place where any protection under the American constitution and the Bill of Rights is stripped away. You will wait weeks or months to be charged, whether innocent or not, and in the meantime you will be subjected to foul, overcrowded jail conditions, prisoner-to-prisoner violence and the brutality of the deputies who guard you. God help you if you have a medical condition, or a mental-health problem, or if you’re pregnant (you may deliver in leg chains – it has happened). “A minor offence in New Orleans,” one civil rights attorney told me, “can get you into a hellish place.”
On 17 March this year, the federal department of justice (DoJ) decided that enough was enough and it has made moves to have the New Orleans police department (NOPD) placed under the supervision of a federal judge. The New Orleans jail system will likely follow.