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Civic Theatre, 5PM
Fashion shows for the gulf region's top designers
Spanish Plaza, 5:30PM
40 chefs compete for top taco prize
Ogden Museum, 6PM
Feat. Bob Malone
Local artists celebrate each other in their work
The Courtyard Brewery, 6PM
To benefit the Friends of New Orleans Public Library
Blue Nile, 7PM
Folksy local singer-songwriter
Big Easy 'Bucha, 7PM
Worship and yoga in one
The Orpheum Theater, 7:30PM
Music of the Beatles
Hi-Ho Lounge, 8PM
A night of angelic sounds
Bar Redux, 8PM
NOLA funk, trad and electric blues
Howlin' Wolf, 8PM
Red Bean hosted stand-up show
Chickie Wah Wah, 8PM
Papa grows funk and so much more
Saturn Bar, 9PM
Café Negril, 9:30PM
All genres of NOLA music fused
Le Bon Temps, 11PM
6th Ward brass mixes funk, soul, jazz and hip-hop
LIFE Yoga, 7AM
An intro course from Zen teacher Thich Thien Tri
Adler's New Orleans, 11AM
Hollywood legend signs copies of 'I Loved Her in the Movies'
Marriot Convention Center, 6:30PM
Day one of the inaugural Bourbon Fest
The Broad Theater, 7PM
Short film showcase
Blue Nile 7:30PM
Friday nights with Kermit on Frenchmen
House of Blues, 8PM
Hebrew hip hop
Cafe Istanbul, 8PM
Preview of Merman's new show "Bad Heroine!"
Joy Theater, 8:30PM
Celtic punk, feat. Skinny Lister
One Eyed Jacks, 9PM
Artist mixer before Saturday's Edwardian Ball
Maple Leaf Bar, 10PM
Chapter Soul hosts a Kanye West dance party
Bar Redux, 10PM
All-British dance party
Hi-Ho Lounge, 10PM
Party like it's 1999
Crescent Park, 10AM
Eat to benefit LA/SPCA
Fair Grounds, 12PM
Family day at the grounds
The Yum Yum, 6PM
NPR faves come home from tour
St. Mark's Church, 6PM
Caravan Cinema screens this Natasha Lyonne comedy
Smoothie King Center, 7PM
Feat. Fantasia and Johnny Gill
The Saenger Theatre, 7PM
Comedy superstar brings his "Total Blackout" tour to NOLA
House of Blues, 7PM
80s vs. 90s - decades collide
One Eyed Jack's, 8PM
FdT stages "Alice in Wonderland"
The Howlin' Wolf, 8PM
NOLA's underground art show, plus free pancakes
The Willow, 9PM
Masquerade ball with live music
The Circle Bar, 10PM
Sweat to the oldies with DJ Matty
Le Bon Temps Roule, 11PM
Free show to move and groove
Howlin' Wolf, 12PM
Over a dozen NOLA spots offer their best bloodies, plus food
Magnolia Yoga Studio, 1PM
Free female-led discussion and open house
Playmakers Theater, 2PM
Final staging of drama about painter Mark Rothko
Maple Leaf Bar, 3PM
5th annual boil commemorating the life of the beloved chef and musician
Woonderland Production Studios, 3PM
Live music, drinks, water slides, more
Audubon Park, 5PM
LPO Woodwind Quintet performs
Local trad jazz masters
Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop, 6PM
Bring games, or join one at the store
Howlin’ Wolf Den, 10PM
Mix of brass standards and funky covers
Spotted Cat, 10PM
Boundary pushing fusion jazz
Maple Leaf, 10PM
Krown on the B3 with Russell Batiste and Walter “Wolfman” Washington
Consent Decree Brings 500 Reforms, Controversy in NOPD
After a year of negotiations, the City and the U.S. Department of Justice are looking to finalize the consent decree that will serve as a blueprint for nearly 500 federally-mandated reforms in the New Orleans Police Department. But the voluminous document has yet to be approved by a judge, and a few organizations representing police officers and the public are vying to get a seat at the table before the hammer comes down.
Last week, two police unions a citizens' group and the city's independent police oversight office filed motions to intervene in the decree, indicating that there could be more parties involved in the reforms than just the federal government and the city.
The four parties looking to intervene, which include the city's Independent Police Monitor, all feel they were left out of the consent decree negotiations. Whether on the side of officers or the public, their court filings all indicate they believe the consent decree does not speak to their position, and raise questions about the ultimate effectiveness of the decree.
Parties typically bring intervention because they don't feel like the city or feds are representing them, and they want their voices to be heard throughout the reforms.
"Unless you're a party to a lawsuit, you can't participate in the lawsuits, you can't stand up and be heard," said Loyola University law professor Dana Ciolino.
On Monday, the Fraternal Order of Police - which represents about 90 percent of the NOPD's officers--filed their motion, claiming that their lack of voice in the proceedings so far means the interests of rank-and-file cops are not protected by the reform document.
Though they participated in an initial meeting about the document, the FOP claims they were shut out of the negotiations. Following the outing of Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone as nola.com commenter Henry L. Mencken 1951, they petitioned Mayor Mitch Landrieu to be involved in the process citing leaks about the process that were attributed to Perricone and general "anxiety." They never heard back.
So, they came to court to seek a seat at the table that was never granted to them.
"...None of the members of the NOPD were given any voice in its contents, how it was to be worded, the areas to be covered or, in fact, any part of the proposed Consent Decree whatsoever. It is a document which will control their jobs yet they have been given no right to have any part in what it says or how it will be implemented," the FOP's court filing says.
The FOP argues "they must be allowed to protect their interests. No one else in this litigation will." In the filing, the FOP intones that some of the decree - which is heavy on governing the nitty gritty of police work - goes too far.
"Of course, Intervenors do not condone illegal or unconstitutional acts. However, this Consent Decree encompasses more than what may be required to address such allegations and puts restrictions in place that go far beyond remedying alleged unconstitutional or illegal activities," the filing states.
The Police Association of New Orleans, another group that represents officers, also filed a motion last week. PANO, which recently released a survey of the rank-and-file that showed officers weren't happy in their jobs (and also had its methods disupted by NOPD brass), also thought they would be included in negotiations. The feds even used the PANO offices to interview rank-and-file cops, the filing says.
"It is interesting to note that many of these issues identified by officers, and subsequently targeted by the consent decree, are issues which uniquely affect the ability and effectiveness of the law enforcement officer and his performance. Some of these issues, made public by the March 2011 investigative report, have still been ignored by the defendant...for the past 16 months," the filing states.
PANO wants a seat at the table to make sure the City addresses the issues that matter to officers, the filing states.
On the other end of the spectrum is Communities United for Change. The group, which works with victims of police brutality and filed its own "Citizens' Consent Decree" recently, filed a motion to intervene that argues the police department cannot be trusted to reform itself.
The police department needs civilian oversight before it will ever truly reform, the document says.
"Unfortunately, the proposed Consent Decree is deficient in several areas especially as regards to civilian oversight of the police department. CUC does not believe the necessary reforms will come from the existing or proposed structure where the trigger mechanism for early warning of deprivation of rights is isolated to an “in-house” process that permits the prevailing conditions outlined in the DOJ report to continue," the filing says.
The "early warning" system is a proposal in the consent decree that tracks officer behavior, and is designed to show signs of potential police malfeasance. The CUC said they submitted earlier demands for a civilian oversight committee of the Department, which would provide a way for the public to report and oversee officer conduct, among other items.
One example that the CUC uses is the use of force. The filing argues that when police must resort to violence, it should not be investigated internally by the NOPD.
"It only adds layers of NOPD investigation to the present system which has not sustained a charge of homicide against a NOPD officer in over a decade. CUC believes that the investigation of use of force complaints must come from an independent investigation body," the filing says.
The civilian monitor paid by the City would tend to agree. Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson already has an office and a mandate from voters, but she says she was also left out of the consent decree proceedings.
Under the decree, a monitor would be chosen to oversee the reforms for the court. After the consent decree was announced, Hutson - whose position was created after a referendum in 2008 - released a statement saying she was left out of the negotiation process, and that she did not understand her role in the consent decree - even though she was mentioned in it.
The filing states Hutson's office reached out to the mayor's office on "at least 7" occasions to discuss the role of the Independent Police Monitor.
Under the consent decree, Hutson's office argues it could be "barred" from acting out its duties to the public if the office does not have a seat at the table.
However, the Consent Decree, which the OIPM was never allowed to review, takes into account very little of the input provided by the OIPM, yet purports to bind the OIPM to its terms and conditions," the filing states.
In a statement, Hutson said local oversight of the department would be critical.
"New Orleans is not a city where effective monitoring can occur without local intervention,” Hutson said in a statement.
Ciolino - the Loyola law professor - said the parties will likely be allowed to intervene in the case. But where the parties go from there remains questionable, he said. The binding nature of a consent decree, where the two parties agree to carry out the specific reforms line-by-line - makes further opposition from the parties without objecting to the consent decree more difficult, Ciolino said.
"Odds are at the end of the day that they're not going to have much effect on the outcome," he said of the interveners.
A City of New Orleans spokesman denied to comment for this article.
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for August 20.
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