NEWS RELEASE: Non-Profits, Attorneys, and Community Members Unite to Demand Information from and Action by Local and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies, the District Attorney, Mayor Landrieu, and the Local Press concerning NOPD Police-Involved Shootings
One week after the tragic NOPD police officer involved shooting of Wendell Allen, New Orleans area non-profits and community members are calling for immediate action by government officials.
“Wendell Allen’s murder raises significant civil rights issues, again, and reminds this community that nearly one year since the U.S. Department of Justice’s report concerning severe dysfunction within NOPD, that system has regressed,” according to Attorney Tracie L. Washington, Director/Counsel for Louisiana Justice Institute.
The assembled groups and community members have sent their letters to NOPD, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, District Attorney Leon Canizzaro, and Mayor Mitchell Landrieu, calling for immediate access to critical information and actions to redress systemic problems within the criminal justice system.
Among those requests are the following:
1. To the NOPD, that it provide the names of all officers involved in the fatal shooting of Wendell Allen, and the Public Integrity Bureau files for all officers on the scene of this tragedy, in addition to providing to the public all NOPD policies related to
a) NOPD’s Use of Force, and,
b) NOPD investigation of officer involved shooting, including any policies or practices related to a waiting period after an officer involved shooting before officers are interviewed by investigators.
2. To the Office of Mayor Landrieu, that it provide documentation concerning status of the Consent Decree negotiations and confection;
3. That District Attorney Cannizzaro immediately convene a Grand Jury to investigate the fatal shooting of unarmed Wendell Allen shooting by NOPD Officer Jason Coclough, and request appropriate criminal charges;
4. That the NOPD provide unfettered and immediate real time access by the Independent Police Monitor (IPM) to all shooting-related crime scenes and that any and all information related to officer related shootings be released immediately, and upon demand to the IPM;
5. That the F.B.I. is called immediately to all officer-involved shooting crime scenes – and that the F.B.I. accepts this charge as a mandate – and that the FBI is actively involved in such investigations and allowed unfettered and immediate real time access to same. Further, that the F.B.I. provide names and access to all assigned agents involved in these investigations;
6. That the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights, open an investigation immediately into any NOPD officer-involved shooting and allegation of excessive use-of-force, and allow public access to all findings at the earliest appropriate time, and
7. That Mayor Mitchell Landrieu attends a meeting of community groups to discuss his plans to address the growing sea of distrust between the NOPD and the people of New Orleans they are sworn to serve.
The tragic fatal shooting of Wendell Allen by the NOPD, the unanswered questions regarding the investigation of this calamity, the outstanding questions regarding the shooting of Earl Sipp in police handcuffs and the fatal shooting of Justin Sipp – these events alone are alarming enough, but when considered with the surge of violent crime, and the mounting credibility challenges facing Superintendent Serpas and fundamental failure of NOPD command to respectfully and effectively engage the public in the fight against violent crime have resulted in an toxic and volatile atmosphere of distrust that threatens the peace and safety of every New Orleanian. It is imperative that leadership act immediately and transparently to begin to address the evaporation of public confidence in the NOPD and city government leadership.