Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing: NOLA Community Groups Caution Citizens of Minneapolis About Consent Decree Process & Monitors

Picture courtesy of the NOPD Facebook page

Two New Orleans community organizations recently sent a letter to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis NAACP warning them about what to expect from the monitors that have been selected to oversee a police Consent Decree in that city and recommending that community input is necessary for the Consent Decree’s long-term success. New Orleans monitors Jonathan Arnolie and David Douglas of the Sheppard Mullin law firm along with former NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison and others were recently chosen as monitors for Minneapolis’ Consent Decree.

In a strongly worded message from Community United for Change (CUC) and New Orleans United Front (NOUF), Minneapolis residents are cautioned to closely watch the process to ensure that the monitors fully complete their work regardless of how long it takes. “The People of New Orleans, Louisiana, have walked in the shoes you are about to traverse in. New Orleans has been plagued with police brutality and police murder for at least seventy (70) years leading up to the 2009 call for federal investigation,” wrote the authors.

CUC says the group was formed to navigate the DOJ through the initial investigation of the NOPD, which produced a Findings Letter that created the Consent Decree. “It was the people of New Orleans who were responsible for the DOJ coming into New Orleans to investigate the NOPD, not the mayor of New Orleans.” The authors also mention Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s refusal to allow the local NAACP president to attend a meeting about the Consent Decree as a motivating factor in their decision to proactively alert and educate citizens about the process on an ongoing basis.

The letter goes on to suggest that the New Orleans lead monitors, Aronie and Douglas, are perhaps engaged in “questionable activities” and in fact continue to have “little concern” for the people of New Orleans in reaching benchmarks designed to rehabilitate the NOPD. The two community groups believe that Aronie and Douglas were not “boots on the ground” and that their inaction frustrated the NOPD’s rehabilitation process.

“After 11 hard-fought years, the absence of 24/7 boots on the ground have taken its toll,” the authors wrote citing the monitor’s alleged propensity to spend most of their time away from New Orleans. “Now Sheppard Mullin wants to wrap up the monitoring process, prematurely, to be able to move on to fertile ground (Minneapolis) that can be more lucrative monetarily for them.”

CUC and NOUF also were bothered by Sheppard Mullin having “recruited players who were supposed to be responsible for rehabilitating the NOPD” while some are “still employed by the same corrupted entity that needs the rehab work.” The authors claim that New Orleans monitor David Douglas “will say and do anything to exit out of the NOPD Consent Decree to be able to enter into the Minneapolis Consent Decree. At this point it is only dollars and cents being considered.”

CUC and NOUF are adamant in their belief that the Consent Decree should continue in New Orleans until benchmarks of sustainment can be realized and Constitutional Policing actually works. “Minneapolis needs to look closer at what is being sold as experience which covers a smoke screen that conceals the false start the NOPD Monitors have engaged in.”

W.C. Johnson chair CUC. Edwin Parker is chair of NOUF.

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