In 2010, new New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu asked Attorney General Eric Holder to help transform the city’s police department into one of the nation’s best. Last year, the two announced a wide-ranging, 124-page consent decree to reform the long-troubled police force. Things have changed, says the New York Times. On Jan. 11, as a federal judge made the agreement official, the city declared that it wanted out.
Landrieu said that the costs of the agreement, when added to the potential costs of a separate decree to overhaul the city's jail, would cause “catastrophic damage” to the city's budget. He added that the police decree went too far, and called the Justice Department “a kind of rogue agency.” The Justice Department rejected these claims, adding that a lack of money could not justify “failure to remedy ongoing constitutional violations.” A federal judge on Friday denied the city's request to put a temporary hold on carrying out the consent decree. The city has appealed. “This has never happened before,” said Samuel Walker, an expert on police reform at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. “It was extraordinarily collaborative and very positive, and now it's gone completely over to the other side.”