By Chris Miller, WWL

August 7, 2023

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration is asking the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene in a hearing ordered by the federal judge overseeing the NOPD consent decree.

U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan is seeking more information on NOPD Public Integrity Bureau’s investigation of alleged payroll irregularities by Officer Jeffrey Vappie, when Vappie was on his first assignment with Cantrell’s bodyguard team.

“Judge Morgan has ordered the city of New Orleans into court later this month to address the police department’s compliance with the consent decree with respect to the PIB investigation into Officer Vappie,” said New Orleans Metro Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche.

The city’s filing with the Fifth Circuit seeks to prevent that hearing from happening.

The federal police monitor criticized the internal investigation into Vappie’s alleged double-dipping. The mayor’s office’s filing claims the judge is trying to run her own investigation into Vappie. Goyeneche says the judge wants info on the Public Integrity Bureau’s investigation, not information on Vappie.

“It’s not an investigation,” Goyeneche explained on the Newell Normand Show. “It is to assess whether the police department with respect to the investigation that they conducted of officer Vappie violated an provisions of the consent decree.”

The Cantrell administration has been trying to free the NOPD from the consent decree that began under Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Goyeneche hopes the hearing reveals more about why Vappie was allowed to set his own overtime, in violation of NOPD policy that limits cops to working no more than 16½ hours a day.

“Essentially, all of the time violations over 16½ hours that officer Vappie may have violated, the departmental policies, he had a basic get out of jail free card, or an exemption,” said Goyeneche.

The city mentions the special overtime authority, authorized under Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, for Vappie in their own filing with the court.