Criminal Justice

Row of Angola prison beds

Louisiana rewards prisoners with $5 for getting flu shot

BY: - November 12, 2020

The Louisiana Department of Corrections is giving a $5 prison-canteen credit to inmates who get the flu shot in its state facilities this year — an incentive that is rare, if not unprecedented. “[G]iven the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical we go above and beyond to urge all inmates, who are otherwise able, to take […]

Police officers could get whistleblower protection for reporting misconduct

Who should investigate La. State Police if the agency is ever barred from investigating itself?

BY: - November 11, 2020

Should the Louisiana State Police continue to be allowed to investigate itself? Should police officers be allowed to turn off their body cameras at their own discretion? Members of the Louisiana Legislature’s police reform task force on Tuesday debated those questions with newly-appointed State Police Superintendent Col. Lamar Davis. The task force’s Policy and Oversight […]

COMMENTARY

Arsonist’s absurd argument that he picked churches made up of wood, not churches made up of Black people

BY: - November 6, 2020

If a person were to incinerate three Louisiana synagogues, three Louisiana mosques or three Louisiana Kingdom Halls, it would be a safe assumption that the arsonist was deliberately attacking Jews, Muslims or Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are not many synagogues, mosques and Kingdom Halls around — at least not compared to the number of churches. Thus, […]

Arsonist of three Black Louisiana churches sentenced to 25 years in federal prison

BY: - November 4, 2020

The white St. Landry Parish man who  torched three Black churches in March and April 2019 to curry favor with “black metal” music fans has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison after multiple members of the incinerated churches described the suffering he had caused them. Earnest Hines, a deacon at Mt. Pleasant Baptist […]

Police officers could get whistleblower protection for reporting misconduct

In Alton Sterling protest case, Supreme Court vacates Fifth Circuit ruling

BY: - November 2, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday vacated a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that said a Baton Rouge police officer can sue a protest leader for the actions of another protester during demonstrations in Baton Rouge in 2016.  That unidentified protester struck the officer with a “piece of concrete or a similar rock-like object” […]

Lamar Davis

Louisiana Governor picks new state police chief as agency grapples with controversies

BY: - October 30, 2020

Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed a new Louisiana State Police superintendent Friday just a few hours before another round of allegations of racism within state trooper ranks surfaced. Captain Lamar Davis, who is Black, will succeed retiring Col. Kevin Reeves, who is White. Davis is a Baton Rouge native who previously worked on highway patrol, […]

Louisiana State Police chief retires amid scandals

BY: - October 27, 2020

The head of Louisiana State Police, Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves, will retire at the end of this week. The 30-year veteran will leave an agency that has been embroiled in scandals for several years.  The governor said he plans to name Reeves’ successor in the coming days. The announcement comes on the heels of revelations […]

Louisiana bill meant to prevent ‘Defund the Police’ efforts dies in the Louisiana Senate

BY: - October 24, 2020

The Louisiana Senate killed a bill meant to prevent local governments from “defunding the police” by not taking it up for a vote before the legislature ended its special session Friday. Sen. Jay Luneau, D-Alexandria, stymied the proposal by conducting a short, 20-minute filibuster. “Sen. Luneau: Are you going to have the floor — are […]

Senate committee waters down bill to preempt ‘Defund the Police’ Efforts

BY: - October 21, 2020

A Senate committee significantly watered down legislation that would make it harder for municipalities to “defund the police” in their communities.  The bill allows the legislature’s joint budget committee to withhold construction dollars and other funding from local governments who substantially cut their law enforcement budgets. The original proposal, sponsored by Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, […]

COMMENTARY

Anti ‘Defund the Police’ bill puts demagoguery over commitment to local governance

BY: - October 20, 2020

By Chris Kaiser Louisiana legislators have recently fast-tracked a bill – House Bill 38 – that would punish cities and parishes that reduce their police budgets by more than 10 percent. Nevermind that no municipality or parish in Louisiana has made any move to defund the police and that Louisianians face urgent challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic […]

Report: Gov. Edwards lets family see video of troopers beating Black man who died

BY: - October 17, 2020

The family of a Black man killed by a Louisiana state trooper met with Gov. John Bel Edwards Wednesday to view long-secret body-camera footage, according to The Associated Press.  The news service quotes the family’s attorney who says the dead man’s mother and sister cried loudly “like they were at a funeral” when they finally […]

Pastor could avoid criminal charges if resolution passes

Lawmaker who attends Tony Spell’s church pushes bill through House that favors the defiant pastor

BY: - October 14, 2020

Louisiana House lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill that was originally crafted to support a Louisiana church pastor who dared authorities to arrest him when he publicly and repeatedly violated the state’s COVID-19 restrictions; however, legislators amended the bill by replacing virtually all of the text with new language that would prevent an emergency public […]