Federal investigators who spent 10 months delving into the New Orleans Police Department found routine constitutional violations in several areas of policing in the city, says a blistering report issued today by the U.S. Department of Justice, says the New Orleans Times Picayune.
Even before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, officers were too quick to use excessive force on the streets and neglected to document such use of force after the fact, the report said. Investigations that followed were inadequate, even in the most serious cases, when an officer fired his gun. New Orleans police routinely stop people without any legal basis for doing so, often conducting “pat-down” searches that don’t meet the requirements of federal law, investigators concluded. The patterns of policing were found biased against several demographic groups, including blackss, people who don’t speak English fluently, gay and transgendered people, and women.