SADOW: NOLA Officials Enable Politicized Police Missteps

Increasingly it seems necessary for the gutting and reconstitution of the New Orleans Police Department, given the escalating rogue behavior it exhibits throughout itself, but that might require accomplishing the more difficult task of exchanging city political elites.

The ongoing saga involving a member of the department once assigned to Democrat Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s security detail on the surface seemed isolated to the officer involved. Both are under federal investigation potentially for defrauding taxpayer resources. That officer was suspended in April and since has filed to retire from the department.

But a twist to the apparently sordid affair, which includes alleged assignations between Cantrell and the officer on the taxpayer dime as she lived unauthorized on city property, a privilege recently revoked by the City Council, Cantrell filed for a protective order against a neighbor at that location supposedly out of pique that the woman had provided video recordings of Cantrell at a public venue that ended up in media reports and possibly as evidence in the looming federal indictments that could involve Cantrell. According to the woman, almost the entire filing was bogus, to which a civil court judge agreed in tossing the entire thing.

However, in the process Cantrell entered into public records confidential personal and legal information about the woman that disturbed the woman, and, seemingly the only way she could have obtained some of that information was from a NOPD source, who would not have been authorized legally to release that information.

Disregard of legal procedures to indulge a favored person also appears to explain the NOPD treatment afforded Democrat former Rep. Cedric Richmond, incident to a vehicle accident in New Orleans in which he was involved last year. Richmond continues to work as a senior party official guiding the reelection bid of Democrat Pres. Joe Biden, after previously having worked for Biden.

At the early-morning crash, the officer in charge at the scene opted against giving Richmond a sobriety test, or asking Richmond if he had been drinking, after consulting by phone with a ranking officer and noting Richmond’s importance, even though an emergency medical technician at the scene perceived Richmond as intoxicated. Media outlet WWL-TV after many months finally received a heavily-redacted internal report that concluded the department acted within procedures regarding the incident.

Yet a number of outside experts question the validity of that conclusion. Interestingly, between the time of the incident and report releasing, the EMT who believed Richmond showed signs of inebriation and the other officer on the scene, who never was interviewed about it, left the department with both facing some kind of disciplinary action. Another EMT on the scene wasn’t contacted, either.

Officers apparently bought Richmond’s story, backed by his young son, that he lost control in response to another vehicle even though surveillance cameras captured the incident and no other vehicle was in sight. The investigation was approved by an underling of Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, who at that time was hired contingent upon Council confirmation, with her apparent consent. Kirkpatrick came to the job after being illegally fired by Oakland, CA for reporting on alleged misconduct by the city’s crime commission that would fire her.

These incidents may display favoritism for political reasons, but a final one finds this agency whose members swear to protect the law trying to subvert it in league with elected officials. With all of the city’s government agencies responsible for law making and enforcement increasingly in the hands of politically far left officials, when the state made legal concealed carry of firearms without a permit for most individuals of majority age this violated their ideological imperative of restriction of Second Amendment rights.

This led to Kirkpatrick declaring that the NOPD wouldn’t respect the law from its Jul. 4 effective date until Aug. 1, when city ordinances expire designating gun-free zones in the city. This, as Republican Atty. Gen. Liz Murrill reminds, is meaningless as constitutionally even an entity with a home rule charter can’t have any of its provisions or by-products conflict with the state’s statutes or the Constitution. Attempted enforcement of subsequently null and void provisions opens up the city to civil rights lawsuits by victims of that bogus enforcement.

The altered state law continues such zones within 1,000 feet of a school, but none currently exist in the Vieux Carré. So, Kirkpatrick, Cantrell, Democrat District Attorney Jason Williams, and the all-Democrat City Council concocted a scheme to designate a NOPD training academy at the district’s substation near Jackson Square and call it a technical college, then claim a zone encompassing about a sixth of the quarter, although it would enclose the majority of commercial activity. This is a blatantly illegal designation, as the establishment of any such public school must come through the authority of the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges with subsequent approval by the Board of Regents, then legislative assent.

The NOPD can create as many training stations as it likes, but it can’t use these as justification to carve out exceptions to state law regulating firearms. But that it tries to do so, along with these other incidents, underscores its history of illegal behavior that triggered its consent decree that it has operated under the past dozen years, and which it is in the process of trying to terminate. Both the city and GOP Gov. Jeff Landry want this outcome, but these recent actions imperil that.  For example, the sloppiness of the Richmond investigation fails to meet standards in the agreement, and the faux academy plan could do the same.

In the final analysis, the politicization apparent in all these NOPD missteps may not make this a question of uprooting and replanting the agency, but of widespread replacement of elected and appointed officials. Unfortunately, to date a majority of the city’s electors appear unwilling to throw out these bums.

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