Building Trust Between Community and Police In New Orleans

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The New Orleans Police Department is in trouble with the law. The department is under at least eight federal criminal investigations, including several cases in which police killed civilians. The details revealed in the investigations are horrific. n the Danziger Bridge case, a mentally handicapped man was shot in the back of the head, and police stomped on his body. In the Glover case, a man was killed and his body was torched inside his car.

For some New Orleanians, the revelations support a long held belief: The NOPD cannot be trusted. For others, the cases may herald a new era of accountability for the New Orleans Police Department. They point out that a new mayor, Mitch Landrieu, came into office a month ago.  Soon after, he appointed new police chief Ronal Serpas. Both are calling for change within the NOPD.

But with such a long history of corruption, what will it take for the police to change? And with such a long history of brutality, what will it take for citizens to begin trusting the police?

We speak with Robert Goodman, a community organizer who works with victims of police abuse, and with Jon Wool, from the Vera Institute of Justice, an organization that has been working to reform the criminal justice system in New Orleans.