Morgan Lentes, WDSU

September 5, 2023

A federal monitor has claimed the investigation violated the department’s consent decree.

City leaders returned to federal court Tuesday to discuss the New Orleans Police Department’s handling of an internal investigation into Officer Jeffrey Vappie.

Vappie, who serves on Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s protective detail, was accused of payroll fraud, working more hours than allowed by the NOPD and acting unprofessionally with the mayor.

A July filing shows the federal monitor overseeing the department’s consent decree found eight instances of noncompliance surrounding the Public Integrity Bureau’s investigation into Vappie.

Among the eight violations, the federal monitor claims the department did not give her access to the PIB’s findings on Vappie before closing its investigation.

Several local officials were ordered to attend a hearing last Thursday, which ran long.

It resumed Tuesday at 1 p.m. and then concluded around 5 p.m.

Testimony will resume Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell was asked Tuesday about the hearing during a separate press event.

“I’m looking for bias-free monitoring. This has been unprecedented what we’re seeing right now. Unprecedented times, personal and targeted at my administration,” Cantrell said.

But the head of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a government watchdog group, told WDSU that the federal monitor is well within her right to raise these concerns.

“The agreement that was entered into 10 years ago provides that the consent decree goes away when the city and the police department are in compliance with the consent decree,” said Raphael Goyeneche. “We are close to compliance, but there are a couple of areas that are not in compliance. One of the areas that now may be determined to be noncompliant is (the Public Integrity Bureau).”

Vappie has since been reinstated to the mayor’s detail following that internal investigation. He was issued a letter of reprimand for three violations.