NEW ORLEANS – A district court judge delayed until May 14 the selection meeting that will decide which group will oversee the federal consent decree of the New Orleans Police Department.
The move by U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan came after both federal and local groups asked for a postponement in the selection of the consent decree monitor. Tuesday originally was supposed to be the deadline.
According to a news release from Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office, the court allowed the delay in order for both parties to have more time in reaching an agreement on which firm was best suited to oversee the consent decree.
City officials favor the group Hillard Heintze, which has drawn an objection from the community group Citizens United for Change, complaining that Hillard Heintze has too many political connections to Mayor Mitch Landrieu and citing that Rev. Charles Southall, Hillard Heintze's local liaison, gave Landrieu's election invocation and Tulane University criminologist Peter Scharf served on a task force for the mayor.
Federal officials believe that Hillard Heintze lacks the monitoring experience.
"For us it was very important that the team have a proven track record of monitoring police reform," Christy Lopez, an attorney for the Department of Justice, said.
The feds favor Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, of Washington, D.C., arguing that the firm has the monitoring experience that Hillard Heintze lacks. City officials, however, complain that the firm doesn't have the local connections.
The consent decree monitor firm will assess the NOPD’s compliance with reforms under a contract lasting at least four years while costing at least $7 million.