Responding to complaints of police brutality, a New Orleans City Council committee yesterday urged Mayor Ray Nagin’s administration to establish an “independent monitor” to review investigations into alleged police misconduct, the New Orleans Times-Picayune says. The idea of such a monitor has been kicking around City Hall for years, but with no move to put it into reality. The cost is estimated at $250,000 a year.
Last month, the council listened to more than an hour of testimony from angry residents and community activists about alleged misconduct and brutality by New Orleans police. The group Safe Streets/Strong Communities said the misdeeds included threats, cursing, public strip searches, unnecessary force, overuse of Mace, planting of evidence, racial profiling, racial epithets, thefts, and demands for payments or favors in return for reduced charges. The victims generally are poor, black or Hispanic, speakers said.