Pressure continues to rise against Ronal Serpas, Mayor Landrieu's new police chief. Activists protested outside Serpas's swearing in ceremony on May 11, and have continued to hold protests, with more than fifty people gathered outside city hall at the most recent demonstration.
The members of Community United for Change, a new coalition that has formed to struggle on issues of police accountability, are continuing to organize responses to law enforcement violence. Organizers report that they have received "numerous complaints concerning the Sixth District Police Officers and the manner in which they are handling the citizens and residents of New Orleans. Beatings and evidence tampering are constant complaints." CUC members say it is time to respond with action.
Community United for Change has sent out a notice that they are calling for "Direct Action by way of an informational picket line" at the Sixth District station. Activists add that "A clear message must be delivered to the new administration that abuse and misuse will not be tolerated by the 'boys in blue.' The culture of corruption that has been the earmark of the NOPD must end."
The protest is today, Tuesday, June 1, at 4:00pm. It will be followed by a 5:00pm press conference to "call attention to the abuse and misuse of police authority." Both events will be at the Sixth District station, 1930 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, in Central City.
Community United for Change has also scheduled a series of public hearings to give the community an opportunity to testify about violence they or their family members or community have received or witnessed from the NOPD. Testimonies will be handed over to the Department of Justice to encourage further investigations of police corruption. The CUC is asking for "all social justice advocates, concerned citizens, and organizations that deplore injustice and the dehumanization of the New Orleans people" to attend these hearings.
The next public hearing is scheduled for Craige Culture Center, this Thursday, June 3rd at 6:00pm. The schedule for all upcoming CUC hearings is:
Thursday, June 3: West Bank - Craige Cultural Center, 1800 Newton Street.
Thursday, June 17: New Orleans East - Mosque 46, 4201 Downman Road.
Thursday, July 1: Central City - Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1823 Washington Avenue.
Thursday, July 15: Hollygrove - Evening Star Baptist Church, 8926 Hickory Street.
Thursday, August 5: Treme - Treme Community Center, 900 N. Villere.
All hearings are from 6:00pm-9:00pm. For more information on the hearings or protests, call Community United for Change at 504-251-2201.