New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu says the United States Department of Justice has a gun to the head of the city over a pair of consent decrees.
One of the consent decrees aims to improve practices at the NOPD; the other will help the city’s jail. Both plans were expected to cost some money to implement. But Landrieu says the DOJ pulled a fast one and convinced a federal judge to sign the consent decree for the jail that includes millions of dollars in unplanned and unbudgeted money.
Landrieu says requiring the city to pay for the jails consent decree will require either a significant hike in taxes or a similarly drastic cut in city services. He also says, if the city is forced to pay for the plan, it could hinder the city’s ability to pay for the police consent decree, which is the greater priority for the mayor.
“I am not going to consent to write a blank check to the Justice Department, to the Sheriff, or to anybody else, and I’m not happy with the situation. I want to think about it over the weekend and have more comments about it next week,” Landrieu said on Friday.
A new jail and support facilities are already under construction.
Landrieu says he will ask lawyers for the city to look at possible legal options.