Back in 2017, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wrote an op-ed which appeared at the New Orleans Times-Picayune. In it, he said something which was quite obvious to anybody with a reasonable understanding of reality – which was that the consent decree then-New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu had entered into with the Obama/Eric Holder Justice Department was a complete disaster for law enforcement and that crime would spiral out of control as a result.
When first taking office, the mayor of New Orleans issued a hiring freeze for the New Orleans Police Department and invited the federal government to take over all aspects of policing in the Crescent City with the most expansive consent decree in history. While the NOPD had issues, the decree outlined largely overstated problems with overbroad and burdensome remedies. Those that crafted and enforce this unprecedented overreach seem to only care about how it looks, but not whether it works.
The 129-page decree mandates numerous policy changes, from off-duty details to paperwork filing. It disrespects law enforcement, coddles criminals, and creates wide-open opportunities for suspects to flee. It not only dictates the tone officers must use with criminals, but it also prohibits “inappropriate” and “insensitive” words. It requires officers to get permission from headquarters before they can utilize canines to apprehend violent criminals; only after asking for surrender three times in the criminals’ native tongue, may the canines be deployed. What’s more: when dangerous criminals flee, officers are prohibited from setting up roadblocks, laying spike strips, or using any sort of obstructions.
But instead of the people’s elected officials making policy decisions regarding proactive policing, the decree empowers an unelected judge and a handful of high-priced attorneys. Their voluminous policy changes and red tape have made the NOPD a beleaguered and reactive force — one mandated to relentlessly pursuing paperwork, not criminals.
As expected when police priorities are subject to the approval of activist judges and Washington lawyers, the community suffers and criminals benefit. As the head of the police association in New Orleans recently stated, “because of the oversight, officers are reluctant to initiate contact.” At a time when NOPD is at a 40-year low in manpower, we must end policies that make current officers hesitant to their jobs.
That was a no-brainer, but naturally Landry was savaged for having criticized Landrieu and the hug-a-thug consent decree.
But of course crime in New Orleans has completely spiraled out of control, so much so that the Normals are booby-trapping trucks with flash-bang grenades in an effort to teach car thieves a lesson the cops can’t, and would-be carjack victims are playing Charles Bronson in the streets. And those with a less-defensive mindset are getting harvested like wheat by the crooks, whether it’s robberies, rapes, murders or whatever other horrors are on tap.
You now have a DA who refuses to prosecute criminals, unless he’s pressured to, and an insane neocommunist sheriff who’s anxious to cut violent criminals loose from the jail. It’s a wonder New Orleans doesn’t look like Gotham under Bane’s control.
And it turns out that the citizenry is beginning to wake up to the problem. Our readers have likely heard of the Bayou Mama Bears, the New Orleans group which fought that city’s mayor LaToya Cantrell to a standstill over her stupid COVID restrictions, but they didn’t give up when that fight was won. They’re now taking aim at that consent decree and they want it gone so the NOPD can begin doing its job again.
The group continues to press to keep the COVID-19 vaccines off school requirements for the fall. But, to hear Rodrigue and Cannizzaro tell it Tuesday, the Bears have turned their focus squarely on New Orleans crime.
One major goal, they said, is trying to persuade U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan to end the consent decree that governs reforms to the New Orleans Police Department.
Cannizzaro ripped former mayor Mitch Landrieu for agreeing in 2012 to federal oversight without a fight. He also hammered at a wave of criminal justice reform in the city, in an impassioned defense of the lock-em-up philosophy that guided him over two terms as district attorney.
“People that go out and commit these heinous crimes and cruel crimes, in my opinion, I’m not sure you can rehabilitate or help them,” Cannizzaro said. “I just don’t think you can.”
Landry has often found a political foil in New Orleans’ crime troubles while railing against “hug-a-thug” justice policies. On Tuesday he portrayed the city’s police force as handicapped by the consent decree and low manpower. He pledged to push Morgan, an appointee of President Obama, to release the city from federal oversight.
“What we’re going to try to do, working with the Bayou Mama Bears, is try to find an avenue under which we can influence this judge such that she understands that we can walk and chew gum and put bad people in jail,” Landry said.
Rodrigue insisted that interest in the group has grown with the shift in focus on crime, because “every female is scared to death at a carjacking right now.”
The Cannizzaro in the story is Leon Cannizzaro, the former district attorney in New Orleans who’s now the top deputy Attorney General for criminal matters. Laura Rodrigue, his daughter, is a lawyer and former prosecutor in Orleans who helped found the Bayou Mama Bears.
Yes, this group is aligning itself with Landry’s political team. That isn’t the point, though. Up until now nobody has taken aim at that consent decree and now you potentially have a citizen’s group backed by a state Attorney General which will go at it.
And it’ll go before a federal judge in New Orleans who’s there watching all the crime which has mounted since that consent decree.
Now – as long as Cantrell is the mayor and Williams is the DA, your expectations are going to have to be muted. NOPD could have total free rein from the federal Justice Department to crack down on violent crime, and you’d still have a personnel problem.
Unless perhaps there is some activity at the state level. Perhaps the next governor might get the State Police involved in reining in violent crime in New Orleans. Perhaps the state legislature might pass a bill or two giving the Attorney General’s office the ability to intervene in violent crime cases to insure they’re being prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Those are things you’re going to see happening around the country, as Hard Left city-level politicians abandon their charge to keep law and order by defunding the police and refusing to prosecute criminals. Governors and state law enforcement agencies will have to step in.
It looks like Landry might have the stomach for that. One wonders if the people of New Orleans are fed up enough to support it being done.