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The NOPD: Returning NOLA to Normal ... Normal Embarassment.
July 17, 2008 4:17 PM   Subscribe

More worries in New Orleans, this time from the Police Department. Within three weeks, Police Superintendent Warren Riley (as seen on the left) has suspended three NOPD officers in separate incidents: one for leading Crescent City Connection police on a high speed chase which ended in one pursuit officer grazed by the fleeing car and another slapped (video). One involved an off-duty officer brandishing a gun at a children's camp and shouting expletives, apparently even backed up by responding officers, according to witness accounts. Another was suspended for wearing the wrong colored shirt on the day he retired, a punishment Riley sees as appropriate as a "consequence of his actions".
posted by kuperman (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Warren Riley, Chief of the Fashion Police.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:56 PM on July 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


At least they didn't shoot each other in a bordello, which is the usual thing that happens to the NOPD.
posted by nyxxxx at 5:05 PM on July 17, 2008


I'm guessing Sgt. Guidry took a dump in somebody's cheerios at some point in the last 35 years.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:09 PM on July 17, 2008


From the story about the NOPD cop brandishing a gun without cause, with children around:

"At that point one of the witnesses called 911, but several people said the responding officer spoke privately with the angry woman, then said loudly as the two walked together that she should've shot a man who told her to put her gun down because children were present, witnesses said."

But remember, everyone - not all cops are bad, not all cops look the other way when one of their fellow officers breaks the law and threatens the peace.

Just, uh, 99% of them.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:11 PM on July 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


But remember, everyone - not all cops are bad, not all cops look the other way when one of their fellow officers breaks the law and threatens the peace.

Just, uh, 99% of them.


Right, cause that story totally proves that. Except, uh, it doesn't.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:15 PM on July 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


i wish nola.com would suspend their forums.
posted by eustatic at 5:21 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Right, cause that story totally proves that. Except, uh, it doesn't.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:15 PM on July 17


You're absolutely right. What proves it is that law enforcement officers, especially local police, are never arrested by their fellow officers when they break the law. Officers are only arrested or disciplined (usually the latter, almost never the former) when they are caught on tape or the person they wound up brutalizing turned out to be the mayor.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:30 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The powder-blue uniform shirt had been worn by officers since the Police Department's inception. Riley changed the uniform after Hurricane Katrina to all-black uniforms.
[...]
Riley, in what some in the Police Department call a move to boost morale, recently announced that the department would revert to powder-blue shirts, probably by the first of the year.


Wow, so an officer who had served for 33 years in the powder blue uniform gets suspended 15 minutes before retirement for wearing the same uniform the department is reverting back to in 5 months.
posted by junesix at 5:31 PM on July 17, 2008


i wish nola.com would suspend their forums.

The nola.com forum regulars rival the scholars of imdb and fark in their level of sophisticated discourse and keen insight into the root causes of the social ills that plague the Crescent City.

Riley needs to go, like yesterday. But he won't. He'll hang on until Nagin is out of office because I don't think there's a scandal out there large enough to nudge him out the Superintendent's chair. Nagin's not leaving until they turn the lights out on his administration because he has no sense of responsibility or shame. New Orleans is stuck with this flock of incompetents until it is time to chose the next gaggle of maladroit and mendacious ministers of micturition...

Piss on them.
posted by djeo at 5:37 PM on July 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


What proves it is that law enforcement officers, especially local police, are never arrested by their fellow officers when they break the law.

This word "proves", I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by tkolar at 5:55 PM on July 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Piss on them.

In post-Katrina New Orleans, they piss on you!
posted by The White Hat at 6:06 PM on July 17, 2008


they pissed on us in pre-katrina new orleans, too.
posted by msconduct at 6:28 PM on July 17, 2008


the next gaggle of maladroit and mendacious ministers of micturition...

I have got to find a way to work that phrase into conversation.
posted by JaredSeth at 6:35 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


the next gaggle of maladroit and mendacious ministers of micturition

Isn't that sort of par for the course in New Orleans? That's certainly the sense I've gotten from commenters here; meet the new boss, same as the old boss. It seems like corruption is entrenched in the system there the same as it is/was in Chicago.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:43 PM on July 17, 2008


i don't necessarily disagree with you, optimus chyme, but i don't think you take it far enough.

doctors don't report other alcoholic doctors who just might happen to be loaded while they're performing surgery. teachers don't report other teachers when they suspect improprieties. politicians are famous for covering each others' asses. family won't 'rat out' murder suspects. i work in a federal contracting environment, and if we all reported each other for fraud, waste, and abuse, no one would be left.

there's a culture of silence that pervades the human condition. it doesn't stop at cops by a long shot. pun intended. even the radio talk show harpies were scoffing at brenda jefferson for agreeing to testify against dollar bill & her other corrupt family members.

as long as people continue to agree that they're outside of whatever societal constraints that bind the rest of us, i don't know how you can single out cops.
posted by msconduct at 6:43 PM on July 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Had Brownie stayed on the job with FEMA such things would not take place.
posted by Postroad at 6:46 PM on July 17, 2008


Isn't that sort of par for the course in New Orleans?

Unfortunately it absolutely is, not just in New Orleans but in Louisiana as a whole. The chuckleheads in Baton Rouge aren't any better - they just tend to be the red flavor of kool-aid rather than the blue variety. Just look at the race to the bottom brinksmanship between the Legislature and the Governor*.

* Governor Bobby Jindal made a closed-door deal to sit on his hands and allow a legislative pay increase to become law - something he had specifically campaigned against. He changed his mind and vetoed the pay raise when paperwork was filed to recall him from office. Then, pulling his testicles out of his drawers, Jindal used the governor's line item veto to cut a bunch of legislators' pet projects. Now the leg is talking about calling themselves into session to try and override the vetoes.
Sit back and grab the popcorn Susan 'cause it's gonna be a helluva ride.

posted by djeo at 7:35 PM on July 17, 2008


Wow, so an officer who had served for 33 years in the powder blue uniform gets suspended 15 minutes before retirement for wearing the same uniform the department is reverting back to in 5 months.

It almost makes you think that the police department is run by some kind of fucked up, mindless bureaucracy, doesn't it?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:04 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


there's a culture of silence that pervades the human condition.


Wow. That's about as straight up as you get.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:59 PM on July 17, 2008


New Orleans is such a great city despite being New Orleans.
posted by peeedro at 9:43 PM on July 17, 2008


One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?
If you guessed this one is not like the others,
Then you're absolutely...right!
posted by Naberius at 9:54 PM on July 17, 2008


The thing about the uniforms seems absurd at a first glance, but upon deeper thought, there are valid reasons to want the police to have a standardized outfit that hopefully distinguishes them from say, a security guard or someone in a costume, and allows them to be easily recognized as police. For example, in a situation, you don't want people fearing that a legit cop is actually an impostor because their outfit seems off.

The absurd bit is enforcing this on the dude's last day when he's clearing out his desk.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:36 PM on July 17, 2008


These aren't "normal embarrassments", these are positively joyously trivial incidents compared to the stuff that was happening when I lived there in the 90s.

One of the city's most successful bank robbers of the time turned out to be a NOLA police officer (he had stolen more than half a million in cash, robber at least a dozen banks, stolen cars, etc.).
Officer Antoinette Frank: At 1:00 a.m. on March 4, 1995, New Orleans police officer Antoinette Frank and an accomplice entered a Vietnamese restaurant in east New Orleans, shot the off-duty police officer moonlighting as a security guard, and then executed a brother and sister who worked at their family's restaurant as they knelt on the floor praying and begging for mercy. The victims' brother and sister hid in a cooler and witnessed much of what transpired. Frank, who did not disguise herself, knew the family and had moonlighted as a security guard at the restaurant before, and even responded to their call for help after the incident, as though she knew nothing about what had transpired. She was quickly convicted and sentenced to death in September 1995.27 - Wikipedia on Officer Antoinette Frank
The FBI conducted a sting on the police department to find out how many officers were corrupt enough to guard a large shipment of cocaine brought in by FBI agents posing as south American drug lords. They arrested about a dozen officers but more were slated to participate. They had to shut down the sting early because the officers who were present were caught on tape planning to murder the "drug lords" (undercover FBI agents) so they could split and sell the cocaine themselves.

A short New York Times summary of the incident.

Also caught on tape during the sting was a police officer hiring a hitman to kill a private citizen who had filed a complaint about him being abusive during a traffic stop. (The police complaint department was located... inside the police department. They basically just handed the complaint -- complete with the name and address of the woman who complained -- over to the offending officer who had a very long record of physically abusing citizens). She was gunned down on her doorstep for the grand total of $50. The top of the page has a blurb on Offiver Len Davis.

It was no exaggeration to say that many citizens (yes, including middle-class and affluent white citizens) were almost as afraid of the police as they were the street criminals, in as much as there was a distinction.
posted by Davenhill at 2:40 AM on July 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


This word "proves", I do not think it means what you think it means.
posted by tkolar at 5:55 PM on July 17 [+] [!]


Fine, tkolar, how about this: These stories smash the trust which is the basis of our willingness to designate power and authority to cops. When one cop starts getting out of line and we call the other cops to come help us out, they goddamn well better do the right thing, not just side with their "brother", because the very justification of their power is that they are going to use it in the immediate moment to stop illegal acts, not help cover them up. The very fact that a cop is acting out of line like this in the first place is an outrage, though one can always point to human frailty and say that there will always be incidents like that. But when other cops show up and take the out of bounds cops side, it better be one major freak occurrence, and unfortunately it doesn't seem to be either in the national news or in many of our personal experiences.

If you want to be a pedant, what this "proves" is that, assuming these stories are true, these sort of incidents can and do happen. It doesn't have to happen 99% of the time for it to be a horrific outrage, it shouldn't happen even 1% of the time.

i don't necessarily disagree with you, optimus chyme, but i don't think you take it far enough.

doctors don't report other alcoholic doctors... teachers... politicians... family ... i work in a federal contracting environment ...

there's a culture of silence that pervades the human condition...

as long as people continue to agree that they're outside of whatever societal constraints that bind the rest of us, i don't know how you can single out cops.
posted by msconduct at 6:43 PM on July 17 [2 favorites +] [!]


The difference here is that we expect cops primary function to be stopping illegal injustices when they are called to their attention. The primary function of doctors, teachers, politicians, and family is not to police their own, though we are right be upset when they overlook obvious wrongs by their peers. Cops are different. We have a right to expect them to be *EVEN MORE OUTRAGED* than we are by wrongdoing amongst them. They hold themselves out as "the good guys", they want us to view them like that, and a big part of their effectiveness is based on people being willing to help them because they trust them. When they are not only not as outraged as we are by these sorts of injustices among them, but actively try to smooth them over it is a much more offensive act than a teacher or family member or even a doctor looking the other way from the flaws of their colleagues.
posted by Reverend John at 7:06 AM on July 18, 2008


part of my belief, rev. john, is that you can't expect one group of people to adhere to a set of rules or behaviors or beliefs or morals or whatever when everyone else is doing exactly what they damn well please. and that goes for cops, who long before they were enforcers of the law, were people. and when the people who write the law and interpret the law and shape policy for the law are playing fast & loose, i'd say there's a definite trickle-down effect. you see it in politics and in the workplace on pretty much a daily basis. i'm not going to go digging for links, but the cafeteria plan is alive & well in religions of all kinds. when jimmy swaggert can weep, beat his breast, say 'i have SINNED and i am sorry' or whatever it was, then i don't know how you can expect outrage out of a cop because another cop lets a comrade off of a speeding ticket. i know that we're talking about more than speeding tickets, but i also happen to believe that most people start low i don't know how that got broken' and work their way up 'we know saddam has weapons of mass destruction'.

lots of new orleans cops are brutal opportunistic pigs. i'll bet the cops in your town are the same way, even if they haven't yet been given the opportunity to prove that to the world.
posted by msconduct at 8:38 AM on July 18, 2008


if we all reported each other for fraud, waste, and abuse, no one would be left.

Or maybe you're justifying this as the human condition when it's really the condition of cowards and criminals.

By the way, thanks for fucking us. Maybe when a building collapses due to shoddy construction you'll feel the slightest hint of guilt. Hope it doesn't ruin your morning coffee.
posted by sondrialiac at 8:54 AM on July 18, 2008


posted "Another was suspended for wearing the wrong colored shirt on the day he retired, a punishment Riley sees as appropriate as a 'consequence of his actions'. "

I get the feeling we're not getting the complete story on this last one. Like maybe their had been some back and forth on the new uniforms previous to his last day.
posted by Mitheral at 9:21 AM on July 18, 2008


you're welcome. i take it your coffee was just a wee bit bitter this morning?
posted by msconduct at 10:44 AM on July 18, 2008


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