New Orleans was well-known for corrupt and brutal police culture all over Louisiana and in the jails. These reforms have little chance of overcoming a hundred years of exploitation, cruelty, and corruption. We know these police crime issues become ingrained in the minds of the citizens just as much as it is in the officers’.
New Orleans police scandals go back decades. In the 1990s, they included the severe beating of a suspect in an officer’s death, and the conviction of a police officer who arranged the murder of someone who filed a brutality complaint against him. It also saw a conviction in a separate case of a killer cop who murdered a fellow officer and two others during a restaurant robbery.
Renewed attention fell on the department after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Justice Department’s civil rights division launched a series of criminal probes focusing on police officers’ actions in the storm’s aftermath.
The investigations resulted in charges against 20 officers, including five convicted last year of civil rights violations in the deadly shootings of unarmed residents on a New Orleans bridge less than a week after the storm’s landfall.
The officers convicted in the Danziger Bridge shootings were sentenced to prison terms of up to 65 years. Five others pleaded guilty to engaging in a cover-up plot that included a planted gun, phony witnesses and fabricated reports.