An internal investigation into five New Orleans Police officers was initiated last week after the release of a body cam video earlier this month allegedly showing some of them coordinating a story to justify the arrest of a Bourbon Street suspect in January 2019.
Last week, Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson suspended all tasks forces and launched a criminal investigation into several officers involved in the arrest of Radon Ray, who was allegedly arrested by Eighth District task force plainclothes police for gun and drug possession charges in the 400 block of Bourbon Street on Jan. 1, 2019.
In addition, reassignments of several department captains were announced at a May 22 press conference. Watch the press conference here.
The actions come after the preliminary findings of a multi-phase audit into the NOPD’s task forces by the Federal Consent Monitoring Team started in late 2019, Ferguson said, adding the findings suggested inadequate supervision among the task forces.
A body cam video of the arrest’s aftermath was obtained and published by The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate days before Ferguson’s announcement and allegedly shows Eighth District task force officers at the Royal Street station lining up their facts in Ray’s arrest.
The video was recently submitted on the record in the case of Ray, who is fighting to get his charges thrown out, the newspaper reported.
Ferguson said the “disturbing” video showing misconduct exacerbated the monitoring team’s findings and has since reassigned all four officers involved—Samuel Senter, Jordan Sherr, William Knowles and Jason Collins—have been to desk duty and are under criminal investigation.
In addition, retired Sgt. Mark Mumme, the officers’ task force supervisor, has been suspended from his reserve officer position and is also under investigation.
“I think the public should be just as troubled as I am,” Ferguson said. “I do not believe in no way shape or form there is a systematic problem with our department.”
Ferguson said it’s important that the NOPD be proactive and transparent regarding the video.
“Our department has come too far since the onset of the consent decree to do anything less,” Ferguson said.
The monitoring team’s report and findings will be released to the public in the coming weeks, Ferguson said.