Mar 302012

Walt Leger

The negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice that will result in a long-awaited order governing the operations of the New Orleans Police Department are now at a standstill, after the resignation of a federal prosecutor involved in the process over his copious online commenting about his work, a state lawmaker told a group of Uptown constituents Thursday night.

In late February, state Rep. Walt Leger prefiled House Bill 514 in the Louisiana House of Representatives that would have allowed the city of New Orleans to enact a new property tax specifically for police and fire protection. Because of well-known civil rights abuses within the New Orleans Police Department, the U.S. Department of Justice is drafting an order known as a consent decree that will govern police operations, and many of its provisions are widely expected to be expensive, such as training or monitoring programs.

The bill, Leger told the Claiborne University Neighborhood Association in a Thursday night meeting about a security district, would have given the city a way to meet those costs quickly. It would have been modified before passage to fit the specifics of the federal order, Leger said.

“A lot of things are needed to upgrade the criminal justice system,” said Leger, a Democrat whose district covers a wide band of Uptown New Orleans from the Irish Channel to Hollygrove. “The bill was being filed in case it was necessary to create a new revenue stream to fund that.”

Federal prosecutor Sal Perricone served as the U.S. Attorney’s representative in the discussions about the order. Earlier this month, Perricone was unmasked as a frequent commenter on about that effort and other cases he was involved in, and he swiftly resigned. That scandal, Leger said, has put the entire effort in jeopardy.

“His involvement in the consent decree has hit the pause button on what the consent decree will be,” Leger said. “At this point, it’s kind of wait-and-see.”

Since the filing of the bill, Leger said he has had no further conversations with the city about the specifics of the tax.

  2 Responses to “NOPD negotiations with Department of Justice on pause after prosecutor’s online comments, state lawmaker says”

  1. If we need more money to pay for an “upgrade to the criminal justice system,” why doesn’t NOPD sell off all of its SWAT toys? Since those toys likely came for free (or at a greatly reduced price) from the feds, it will be almost pure profit!

  2. Awesome issue put up here that the negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice on his copious online commenting with his activity. Actually I think it’s a critical issue though we should more thinking about that matter but thanks for good deal 🙂

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