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Councilman Williams Wants Citizen Oversight Of New Orleans Police

Janet Wilson

Councilman Jason Williams wants the New Orleans Police Department to answer to a citizens' advisory committee.

He held a press conference Tuesday afternoon outside City Hall to announce that he will push for the reform.

This comes after thousands of citizens protested in the streets for more than a week, demanding police accountability and criminal justice reform after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“My goal here is to institutionalize this public participation in a much more robust way,” Williams said. “There is momentum to finally address the institutional racism that has run through the core of the criminal justice system.”

The community panel would make recommendations that would help lower incarceration rates and improve how citizens are treated by the police. It would include advocates and community leaders.

Advisory panels can help law enforcement agencies conduct research, review policies and support community outreach. They’ve been used in places like Albany, New York, and Hayward, California.

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro earlier on Tuesday called for Jason Williams to recuse himself from criminal justice matters as he undergoes an investigation by the FBI regarding tax records, reported.

“Leon Cannizzaro’s time is up,” Williams said, addressing reporter questions regarding the conflict.

Williams has expressed his intention to run against Cannizzaro next year. Cannizzaro is facing a lawsuit for his office’s use of fake subpoenas.

The Criminal Justice Committee will also hold an emergency committee meeting on Thursday to discuss the NOPD’s teargassing of protesters on June 3.

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Tegan Wendland is a freelance producer with a background in investigative news reporting. She currently produces the biweekly segment, Northshore Focus.