What happened when seven high ranking NOPD officers served a summons to Belden Noonie Man Batiste is evidence that the NOPD is not ready to have the consent decree removed. A report by the Independent Police Monitor supports Noonie’s claim that the police tried to intimidate him and, worse still, then lied about it. If the NOPD gives some people preferential treatment, uses excessive force against others and then lies about it then the current situation is bad. It’s not that far from covering up minor police misconduct and the horrific Danziger murders.
In case you don’t know the story, former City Councilman Jay Banks went to Noonie’s house after Noonie publicly criticized then Senator Karen Carter Peterson. She was running for reelection, and Peterson paid Banks for legislative assistance. Banks didn’t like Noonie’s harsh criticism. If you know Noonie, then you know he can be a tormentor. He will publicly ridicule the subject of his ire.
Noonie is a quintessential New Orleans character. Loud. Funny. Antagonistic. And he makes sometimes outrageous claims. For example, On WBOK 1230 am radio, he inaccurately accused Will Sutton of being a lapdog for the mayor. Said Mr. Sutton was on the mayor’s payroll. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the other side of the coin, he laid out a clear list of his reasons why he thinks Mayor LaToya Cantrell should be recalled. So with Noonie, you don’t exactly know what you are going to get. But best believe, it will be big and bold and often funny.
This is the guy former Councilman Banks went after. Banks got in his City owned vehicle and drove over to Noonie’s house. He confronted Noonie. There was a dustup in Noonie’s yard. Threats were made. And the police got involved.
The event was not violent. No shots fired. It rose to the level of a disturbing the peace misdemeanor charge. In this case the police usually call the participants. For the NOPD, issuing a disturbing the peace court date is a hassle. Typically they call the accused in to sign the paperwork. When it came time to issue summons to each of them, there was a big difference in how the police handled it. Councilman Banks drove to the police station and signed his promise to appear in court.
But for Noonie seven (7) high ranking officers and a car staged down the street (just in case Noonie zigged and zagged and they couldn’t serve him a rifle car was staged down the block?) showed up at Noonie’s house. That was an abuse of power. A clear and unnecessary use of force. Noonie claimed foul and filed a formal complaint. An investigation ensued. And what did the NOPD do?
Lied and attempted a coverup. Mind you these are not inexperienced beat cops. Noooo. Captains, lieutenants and sergeants. Years of experience.
Now don’t just take my word for it. Or Noonie’s.
The Independent Police Monitor did an objective investigation of the events surrounding the Banks/Batiste scuffle. Their findings fully support Noonie and paint the troubling picture of NOPD misconduct. The most disturbing issue is that the NOPD is close to being left to their own devices. And you would think they’d be on their P’s and Q’s. Instead, the culture of abuse and corruption seems so insidious that we can’t trust them yet.
This is a huge disappointment. The NOPD is our police department. We need them to be effective and powerful. We need them to protect us. And we need them to serve us. The city council has implemented new progressive policies. No more harassment. No arrests for marijuana possession. Granted, the NOPD has a tough job. Our city is mired in poverty. We don’t have enough homeowners. Carjackings and murders are up. Officers are leaving in droves.
NOPD Coverup Means We Need Consent Decree
Still the relationship with the police and black folks is complicated. The NOPD was one of the most abusive rogue police departments in America. African Americans are not used to constitutional policing. The relationship white folks have with the police is totally different. What the consent decree must do is make the black folks and police relationship just like the white folks. I want to call an officer an asshole and have the officer reply that I am being rude.
But based upon the response to Noonie, black men can expect over policing. Don’t ever forget the Danziger murders by NOPD of innocent men and women. And keep the consent decree in place cause NOPD still has problems.