Over the objections of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, a federal judge imposed a consent decree to instill sweeping reforms in the New Orleans Police Department, the city’s Times-Picayune reports. Landrieu had said he couldn’t sign the decree with the specter of having to pay the tab for proposed fixes at the Orleans Parish jail. That deal, a separate proposed consent decree, could do “catastrophic damage” to the city budget, he said.
“What is concerning me is that the relationship the Justice Department has now engaged in with the sheriff has a gun to the city’s head,” Landrieu said. Tthe mayor lashed out at the Justice Department, Orleans Parish Sheriff Martin Gusman, and even the federal judge who is slated to decide how much the city must pay for the jail reforms. They are to blame, he insisted, for the politically bitter prospect that Landrieu appeared resigned to confront: a call for a higher taxes or else a major cutback in city services. Landrieu said he felt betrayed by the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, which negotiated both the police and jail agreements.