The Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) released its findings that the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) engaged in misconduct and violated the Constitution. Following an investigation dating back to May 2010, the DOJ found that members of the NOPD failed to properly investigate accusations of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, stated, "These findings unfortunately are reminiscent of the sex bias findings of the 1991 Christopher Commission regarding the Los Angeles Police Department. For violence against women to truly be reduced police violence must be eradicated."
Margie Moore, Director of the Center for Women and Policing, stated "Unfortunately, this is policing at its worse. The degrading impact on women and all people in the community who reported violent crimes and were improperly investigated can never be repaired. It is hoped that with DOJ mandating certain training and procedures that the faith in the police and women who report crimes of violence to them can be restored. Without an unbiased police force and leadership there can be no true justice for women. NOPD should take this time to examine their recruitment procedures and establish protocols that will weed out those who care not for upholding the constitution."
The Department of Justice report stated, "We find that NOPD has systematically misclassified large numbers of possible sexual assaults, resulting in a sweeping failure to properly investigate many potential cases of rape, attempted rape, and other sex crimes....The documentation we reviewed was replete with stereotypical assumptions and judgments about sex crimes and victims of sex crimes, including misguided commentary about the victims' perceived credibility sexual history, or delay in contacting the police."
Carol Tracy, executive director of the Women's Law Project, clarified, "This is a long overdue acknowledgment of gender bias in police practice and we hope police departments throughout the United States will begin self-audits of their practices."
DOJ investigators also found that the NOPD and discriminated against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people, used excessive force, and failed to offer adequate services to non-English speakers.
Media Resources: Statement of the Department of Justice 3/17/11; Statement of the Women's Law Project 3/16/11
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .