News & Events
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NOPD CHANGES POLICY of criminalizing victims
Tue, Feb. 07, 2012
NOPD CHANGES POLICY OF CRIMINALIZING HOMICIDE VICTIMS
Yesterday, Ronal Serpas announced that NOPD homicide postings will no longer include the prior arrest records of victims. SilenceIsViolence works closely with the families of homicide victims, and we see the pain these families endure at the hands of a system that shows little compassion for their grief. For nearly a year, we have asked Chief Serpas to discontinue his wrong-minded practice of demonizing victims, often a few short hours after they have died. So the news of this policy shift comes as a great relief, and great news for the entire community.
We sincerely hope that this seemingly isolated shift in policy will have much broader implications: That it signals a shift in NOPD attitudes toward victims of violence in New Orleans, and toward their families. Victim families are the natural allies of the NOPD in pursuing safety and criminal justice, and it is time the Department starts treating them with the respect and deference demanded by such an important potential partnership.
The NOPD announcement also provides us with a chance to thank everyone who supported our advocacy and community engagement efforts during last week's Strike Against Crime. Clearly, the community's voice is hard to ignore when we speak together on an issue of importance to us. Particular thanks to the victim families who joined us throughout the week, and had the courage to speak publicly about their experiences and their pain. Their stories are the real reason why the policy of criminalizing victims was destined to end.
Next Tuesday, we will celebrate this triumph of community advocacy following our weekly Music Clinics. Join us at Sound Cafe (2700 Chartres Street) starting at 7pm for king cake and cheers as we enter the Carnival break.
Most importantly, please stick with us as we continue to tell the stories of victim families, and of the lives their murdered loved ones have lost. When we remember the humanity of each citizen, and the tragedy of each violent loss, it becomes impossible to trivialize their deaths. This is the bigger picture that we as a community must continue to impress upon the NOPD: Now that the active criminalization of victims has diminished, we expect to see victims and victim families treated with greater compassion, humanity, and respect, if they are to be recruited to the cause of helping make New Orleans safer.
STRIKE AGAINST CRIME 2012 THANKS
Clark Prep High School
Pigeon Town Steppers Social Aid and Pleasure Club
Original Prince of Wales Social Aid and Pleasure Club
Sixth District NOPD
Engine 1 NOFD
Second District NOPD
Stooges Brass Band
Soul Rebels Brass Band
Louisiana Children's Museum
Faux Pas Prints
BREAK THE CODE OF SILENCE! www.silenceisviolence.org