NEW ORLEANS -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana condemned the City of New Orleans for refusing to televise today’s public hearing on the progress being made to comply with a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Under the agreement, the New Orleans Police Department agreed to enact far-reaching reforms to prevent the excessive use of force, promote bias-free policing, combat corruption and ensure meaningful engagement with the community.
ACLU of Louisiana executive director Alanah Odoms Hebert made this statement:
“The City Council’s refusal to televise today’s hearing was completely wrongheaded and unjustifiable. It sends entirely the wrong message—of preference for closed-door government—at a time when the city should strive for absolute transparency.
"The extent to which NOPD is meeting its obligations to protect the people it serves – free from bias, corruption, or excessive force – is of interest to every New Orleans resident. Unfortunately, while court hearings on the consent decree are public, they are held at times and locations that are not accessible for most residents. This fact has made it difficult or almost impossible for most New Orleans residents to stay informed about the NOPD’s progress in meeting its obligations.
"The City’s opposition to broadcasting the hearing on public-access television is a troubling sign that Mayor Cantrell’s administration, the NOPD, and the City Council prefer to operate in obscurity. Moving forward, we urge city leaders to operate with the openness and transparency New Orleans residents deserve.”