On Friday, U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan approved a U.S. Justice Department agreement with New Orleans to completely overhaul the New Orleans police department and also that the New Orleans Police Department would be under scrutiny of a court-approved monitor for years.
The federal court has allowed the city until Jan. 31 to file any motion intended to seek relief from the order.
The measures came following numerous accusations of the New Orleans Police Department engaging in abusing their authority ranging from discriminatory searches to using excessive force on a routine basis.
While New Orleans continues to struggle with a high rate of murder and violent crimes that has no sign of abating, police brutality is also common, and in the past two years, convictions have been won in more than a dozen cases of police brutality.
Last July, Attorney General Eric Holder had announced a mandate for complete change at the NOPD in one of the most extensive investigations conducted by the DOJ. The report by the Justice Department that resulted from the investigations found a huge number of procedural and operational faults in the NOPD. Routine behavior of police personnel included unlawful searches, discriminatory policing practices, and flagrant use of excessive force.
The consent decree was reached after several months of negotiations between federal and city officials and proposed changes include changes in department policies in interrogations, lineups, recruiting, training, and investigations into misconduct.
The city mayor, Mitch Landrieu, and the police superintendent Ronal Serpas, had both welcomed the order made by the Justice Department last summer, though Landrieu had commented the exercise would cost the city about $11 million annually and for several years.
According to the consent decree, the monitor would be an independent entity.