Criminal Justice

New Orleans Police to Operate Under US Monitor; Blind Photo Lineups and Video Questioning Required

The New Orleans Police Department will operate for at least the next four years under a federal monitor as the result of an agreement reached with federal officials.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the consent decree (PDF) on Tuesday, saying it is one of the most expansive in the history of the U.S. Justice Department, report Reuters and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The deal follows a federal investigation and a March 2011 report that criticized excessive police force, racial profiling and the department’s system of paid security details, described as an “aorta of corruption.”

According to the Times-Picayune, the agreement “amounts to a 492-point, court-enforced action plan for overhauling NOPD policies and practices—from when officers can pull their weapons to the kind of data they track.”

Under the decree, officers will be required to:

• Undergo training on use of force and bias-free policing.

• Use “blind” photo lineups in which officers don’t know which picture is that of the suspect.

• Make video recordings of all questioning at police stations and all interrogations regarding killings and sexual assaults.

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