NEW ORLEANS - The NOPD will discontinue the policy of highlighting the arrest records of murder victims following requests from some local clergy, Supt. Ronal Serpas announced Wednesday.
The NOPD had come under some fire for issuing press releases that included the details of a crime, but also pointed out if the victim had any arrests.
“I believe it is necessary to share with the community the obvious and direct link between criminal behavior and the horrible acts of murder in our city," said Serpas. "I have always said, however, that there are very good arguments to share and not share this public information."
Serpas said he made the decision after consulting with clergy leaders over the last few weeks.
Serpas said that to continue keeping the public informed as to whether crime victims are largely involved in wrongdoing, the NOPD will give a once-a-month overview of the arrest records in total and not individually.
The NOPD will continue to give the public criminal record of those people arrested for crimes.
"The people of New Orleans are entitled to this information, and know what challenges we face," said Serpas. "An informed public is critical in the fight to save our sons.”
A bill had been pre-filed for the state legislative session that would have prevented the spending of public funds to disseminate the criminal history of a murder victim in the parish of Orleans. The bill was being pushed by State Senator J.P. Morrell.
On Tuesday in his Eyewitness News commentary, Clancy DuBos called for an end to the practice, saying it only hurts the murder victims more.