Two New Orleans police officers have testified that while they felt pressure from a handful of ranking officers to downgrade crimes they investigated, they did not file a written protest at the time and were never asked to falsify the narratives in their reports, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The testimony, came on the second day of what is expected to be a protracted appeal by five former officers who were dismissed and a sixth who was demoted. Yesterday’s hearing was part of a long-awaited appeal to steps the New Orleans Police Department took in October 2003 in response to alleged crime statistic fudging in the 1st District. After anonymous complaints from some officers frustrated by the alleged numbers manipulation triggered an internal investigation, Superintendent Eddie Compass dismissed former 1st District commander Capt. Norvel Orazio and four others.
Under questioning by City Attorney Joe DiRosa, officers Rita Franklin and Orlythia Miller-White said they were pressured to classify crimes in ways that made them uncomfortable. When he announced disciplinary action against the six accused officers, Compass said that by thinning the number of crimes required to be reported to the FBI, Orazio and the other cops produced a flawed picture of crime reduction within his purview that led to Orazio winning three departmental crime-fighting awards. For the most part, attorneys for the officers insisted, the reports in question did not involve headline-grabbing crimes and did not affect New Orleans’ murder numbers.