Experts working with the U.S. Department of Justice will embark on a wide-ranging investigation into New Orleans police practices, examining everything from the policies for hiring officers to the use of deadly force on the streets, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The probe is separate from the eight ongoing federal investiations into particular officers’ actions, including several shootings after Hurricane Katrina where officers were involved. Instead, Justice Department officials will try to understand whether there are systemic problems in the department that must be fixed to restore community trust in law enforcement, said Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, head of Justice’s civil rights division.
The probe was requested by Mayor Mitch Landrieu in one of his first acts after taking office. Among subjects of the probe: “unconstitutional searches and seizures, racial profiling, failures to provide adequate police services to particular neighborhoods, and related misconduct.” It was not clear whether the result may be a court-backed consent decree that mandated specific changes.