By Amy Russo | WGNO | April 4, 2023
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The federal judge overseeing the NOPD consent decree is ordering several high-ranking city leaders to court next week. Some of those include Police Chief Michelle Woodfork and Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano.
The order comes after Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s announcement that city employees would no longer participate in public consent decree hearings.
“We made progress but not only that, we are the model department for the United States of America, what is the problem,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
“If you’re not going to participate in these public hearings then you’re going to come to court and we are going to conduct the hearings in court under subpoenas,” that’s what Rafael Goyeneche believes was on Judge Susie Morgan’s mind when she ordered the city leaders to appear in court on April 12.
The mayor and police chief say the meetings have become a drain on time and resources, but some say refusing to show up was a bad move.
“Everything that would have been done at that public hearing last week is going to be done in open court under subpoena with additional taxpayer cost as a result of that in court next week,” Goyeneche explained.
The consent decree has been in place for over a decade. Goyeneche says this is the first time he’s seen a mayor or chief have a problem making themselves available. He adds Judge Morgan has sent a clear message.
“She has the power of the gavel,” he said. “The path to the completion of the consent decree is by cooperating with the court.”
The hearing will be Wednesday, April 12 at 2:00 p.m. at federal court.