No more stink eye: New policy for NOPD coming after politician alleges police ‘non verbally threatened’ him

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The following contains editorial content which are the views of the writer.

New Orleans, LA: Policy changes are likely to be coming soon to the New Orleans Police Department that will address and modify how officers can reduce the potential for ‘non-verbal threatening and intimidating behavior’ after a mayoral candidate, Belden ‘Noonie Man’ Batiste had his feelings hurt and felt he was ‘non-verbally threatened’ after being served a summons.

This brewing new policy was not born from police misconduct or an alarming incident involving the public.

It was born after a former New Orleans city councilman was bickering and arguing with another public figure outside on the front lawn of Batiste’s home.
Original coverage here.
The argument involved Belden ‘Noonie Man’ Batista (interesting nickname for a political figure), who ran for the U.S. House to represent Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district, and later for Mayor of New Orleans (lost both times). The other person he was having a petty dispute with was former city councilman, Jay Banks.

The argument took place February 2021. The complete subject of the argument is unclear- but likely political pettiness. It ended with both parties being issued summonses, at which point things got strange.

According to a column from a local media source, it stated:

“Banks and Batiste offered different explanations for the events that led them to verbally spar on Batiste’s Treme lawn. Police issued both misdemeanor summons, though Batiste alleges Banks was allowed the option to sign his at the First District station, while Batiste received the summons in a show of force when seven ranking officers delivered it to his home.”

‘Noonie Man’ Batista filed a complaint with the Independent Police Monitor, led by Stella Cziment, alleging that NOPD ranking officers ‘non-verbally threatened’ and ‘intimidated’ him during the delivery of the summons.

Non-verbally threatened?

The allegation reeks of desperation and sounds more like a spoiled brat, ‘yeah, well, watch what I can do’ response to receiving a misdemeanor summons.

Batiste and Banks. Screenshot from WWLTV YouTube Channel

Despite the allegation clearly appearing absurd and baseless, the Independent Police Monitor must investigate every claim.

The results of the investigation led to an 18 page report that seemed equally underwhelming, anti-police and mostly opinionated and subjective.

In the local media column, it stated:

“But the Independent Police Monitor’s Office said in an 18-page report that it found nonverbal intimidation, conflicts of interest and contradictory statements by police officials.”

It continued:

“Despite refuting those findings, Ferguson said at a press conference Tuesday that he would work with Cziment to try and address the issues she identified in her report.”

New policy for NOPD coming after local politician alleges police 'non verbally threatened' him after summons issued
Screenshot taken from WWLTV YouTube Channel

Ferguson, the Superintendent of the New Orleans police department responded with the standard answer of ‘we’ll look into it.’ Whether or not he truly believes there was ‘intimidation’ or ‘non-verbal threats’ is unclear, however his office has provided a response that seems reasonable and accurate.

In the NOPD official response to the allegations, it refuted them as inaccurate.

According to NOPD press release, it stated:

“At no point were NOPD officers untruthful in responding to a Public Integrity Bureau investigation of the response to the incident or the Independent Police Monitor during that office’s investigation of the response to this incident.”

It continued:

“At no time did any officer attempt to intimidate anyone involved in this incident. To imply there was any sort of preferential treatment is false and without merit.”

That sounds far more likely than Batiste’s claims. However, Cziment, who runs the Independent Police Monitor, had similar but unfounded concerns. She is playing the underwhelming investigation with politics, not relevance.

Cziment referred to NOPD’s investigation is ‘not thorough’ and left ‘many questions’.

What is to question? How thorough could it have been?

Batiste clearly threw a child-like tantrum and made broad, subjective and consequence-free allegations towards the police.

In fact, one of Cziment’s concerns were the amount of officer’s present when they served Batiste’s summons.

With Batiste’s erratic personality, it was wise to have as many witnesses as possible to contend any statements of misconduct he was likely to make- and he did!

Remember Batiste is the same guy summoned for violently arguing with another political figure, then a city councilman on the front lawn of his own home.

New policy for NOPD coming after local politician alleges police 'non verbally threatened' him after summons issued
Screenshot taken from the NOPD press release website.

New Policy Coming

Because of all this pettiness, new policies are likely coming.

Government and police officials are looking into ways to address how police interact specifically with elected officials. Maybe officers should give local politicians a teddy bear before speaking with them

They also want to add new policies to manage ‘non-verbal threats’ and ‘intimidation’ when dealing with a public.

How about training politicians to have civil conversations with one another?

 

New policy for NOPD coming after local politician alleges police 'non verbally threatened' him after summons issued

New Orleans’ a mess right now.

Reckless New Orleans mayor living rent-free in city-owned luxury apartment as crime spirals out of control

Posted October 5, 2022

The following may contain editorial content which is the opinion of the writer. 

NEW ORLEANS, LA- When our form of government was enacted by the founding fathers, it was never intended to establish a “royal class” of rulers. Elected officials were supposed to be from among the “regular folks.” Clearly, that is no longer the case, where those elected to public office think of themselves as royalty among their subjects.

Such is the case of New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell, who while presiding over one of the deadliest cities in the country sees herself as above subjecting herself to petty annoyances. Such as for example paying rent.

According to the New York Post, Cantrell is not even ashamed of the fact she lives rent-free in a city-owned luxury apartment located in the city’s French Quarter district. That revelation comes only weeks after she admitted dropping nearly $30,000 to jet set her way to Europe with via multiple first-class airline tickets.

Cantrell defends living in the $3,000 per month apartment in the Jackson Square area of the city, claiming it is “not illegal” for her to do so.

Perhaps. But it looks really bad.

“The mayor’s usage of the city-owned apartment at the Pontalba is consistent with the usage of previous mayors,” said Cantrell’s communications director Gregory Joseph to NOLA.com last week.

“In the 2013 franchise agreement, there are no rules governing how that unit should be used and the FMC believes the mayor has no obligation to pay rent on that apartment because she’s using it in the same manner that previous mayors enjoyed.”

That may be the story, however an investigation by local news station WVUE-TV claims that is not correct. According to an investigation filed by the station, Cantrell may be in violation of a city employee policy that specifically says, “Use of city property is for work-related purposes, and not personal benefit.”

According to a separate report from a  government watchdog group, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, Cantrell has been living in the apartment for months while even using a city employee to work as the apartment’s superintendent.

The report showed photos of Cantrell going to and from the apartment as a city-owned SUV sat parked outside, according to WWL-TV.

Moreover, in a case of cloak and dagger, Cantrell had privacy screens installed on the balcony while also receiving packages at the address.

According to the station, Cantrell—who earns $188,000 per year—paid no rent between September 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022. The apartment has a market value of just under $3,000 per month, according to public records.

In a separate two-month investigation undertaken by WVUE-TV and published last week, it found Cantrell spent nearly every day over a 26-day period at the apartment, staying for hours at a time while at other times spending the night.

Meanwhile, emails obtained by the Times-Picayune revealed Cantrell repeatedly used an employee from within her office as a “handyman” to fix the shower in the apartment and the internet, as well as to run a number of other errands.

“I was with the Mayor at the Apt on Saturday and she says it still does not provide her with a hot shower,” Bryon Cornelison, deputy director of programs for the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy, is reported to have said in a January 24 email to property manager French Market Corporation.

Moreover, two months after that Cantrell emailed Cornelison about fixing a leak in the bathroom.

“Tomorrow between 12:30 -2:30 is good with me Bryon. You or security would need to be present,” Cantrell reportedly told him.

One member of the city council, Eugene Green sees no problem with Cantrell stiffing the taxpayers.

“Councilmember Green is not aware of any regulations or procedures that may have been violated,” Green’s chief of staff, Sandra Thomas said.

Meanwhile City Council President Helena Moreno said she was going to look at the MCC’s request for an investigation in order to “ascertain” if Cantrell is “complying with city policy and/or state law.”

“That’s an additional benefit tax-free that she’s been receiving. She doesn’t need to be residing there or using that. And I think that it’s a misuse and abuse of her authority. But I’m waiting to see what the city council’s position is,” the group’s president Rafael Goyeneche said.

Meanwhile Cantrell is refusing to pay the city of New Orleans back nearly $30,000 in upgrades to first class she used to fly overseas to Europe, making the bizarre and ridiculous claim that she did so for her “safety as a black woman,” according to the New York Post. Those trips included an $18,000 first-class trip to Paris over the summer.

The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate reported that sine January 2021, Cantrell charged the city of New Orleans $29,000 to travel first or business class instead of coach.

“All expenses incurred doing business on behalf of the city of New Orleans will not be reimbursed to the city of New Orleans,” Cantrell said defiantly, according to WWL.

“One thing is clear. I do my job, and I will continue to do it with distinction and integrity every step of the way. That’s what I have to say on that,” Cantrell continued.

She can be defiant all she wants; however her actions appear to work contrary to the city’s travel policy, which clearly says New Orleans municipal employees must select the cheapest flight—or pay back the difference.

“Employees are required to purchase the lowest airfare available…Employees who choose an upgrade from coach, economy, or business class flights are solely responsible for the difference in cost,” the policy reads according to WWL.

Continuing, it reads, “Any reconciliation of travel expenses that results in overpayment by the city requires that the employee reimburse the City within twenty business days.”

In clearly the lamest excuse possible, Cantrell’s chief administrative officer Gilbert Montano told the Times-Picayune that it’s “unclear” if the reimbursement policy applies to elected officials. Who get paid. By the taxpayers.

Remember, Cantrell said she flew first class due to safety concerns. As if flying first class as opposed to coach affords additional security protections. We’re pretty certain you have the same level of protection on an aircraft no matter where you sit.

“As all women know, our health and safety are often disregarded and we are left to navigate alone,” she told the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate in August.

“As the mother of a young child whom I live for, I am going to protect myself by any reasonable means in order to ensure I am there to see her grow into the strong woman I am raising her to be,” she continued.

“Anyone who wants to question how I protect myself just doesn’t understand the world black women walk in.”

Ding, ding, ding…it’s a race thing. Because as we all know, women of color are routinely targeted in coach on US airlines. But not in first class.

Talk about a lame argument.

Perhaps Cantrell’s abject self-importance is why she’s facing the possibility of a recall, and according to a new poll faces strong support for such an effort.

According to WVUE, over half (55.4%) of 400 registered voters supported a recall. The survey was conducted Aug. 30 to Sept 1 by Edgewater Research and My People Vote.

UPDATE: As of earlier today (Oct. 4, 2022) Cantrell has agreed to reimburse the city for first class travel.

New policy for NOPD coming after local politician alleges police 'non verbally threatened' him after summons issued

The New Orleans Mayor is a mess herself.

New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell shows up in court to support…the thug that carjacked three women at gunpoint

Posted August 24, 2022

The following includes content which is editorial in nature.

NEW ORLEANS, LA- You literally cannot make this up. As an epidemic of armed carjackings rages across the country, the mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell decided that she would support people involved in a series of high profile carjackings in her city.

Oh, she didn’t show up in court to support the victims who had loaded guns put to their heads…she showed up to support the criminal thug who perpetrated the crimes.

On Aug 18, Cantrell decided that she would show just how woke and progressive she was by making an unannounced appearance in juvenile court to support the 14-year-old suspect as he awaited sentencing for his role in the three armed carjackings.

As reported by WWL-TV in the Big Easy, juvenile officials, as well as the district attorney’s officer were taken aback by her appearance, where she sat with the criminal’s family in the courtroom.

In a magnification of the issues facing our criminal justice system in America, the young punk was sentenced to probation for three first-degree robbery convictions, crimes which occurred when he was 13 years old.

In handing down the sentence, Chief Juvenile Court Judge Ranord Darensburg noted that court rules prohibited him from speaking on the case, other than to say, “I followed the facts and the law.”

The appearance in support of the young thug was a sharp contrast to Cantrell’s phony show of support for New Orleans police officers just a couple weeks back.

There she visited with a number of officers as the department undergoes a 50-year low in manpower, which is not only affecting officer morale but impacting crime in the city. Her decision to show support of a violent criminal, teenager or not did not set well with NOPD officers.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Donovan Livaccari, attorney for the NOPD Fraternal Order of Police said. “I think disappointment is the common thread. Especially given all her visits to the station.”

WWL-TV said they reached out to Cantrell’s office after her court appearance on Aug 19, as well as on Aug. 22 but had yet to hear back.

Livaccari slammed Cantrell’s avoidance of answering questions about her appearance  and said it is causing a great deal of puzzlement among officers up and down the chain of command.

“This is probably going to be detrimental to recruiting efforts,” he said. Hopefully, it won’t be for long.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson eviscerated Cantrell in his opening monologue on Tuesday:

The 14-year-old thug, whose name was not released due to his age, is apparently a “successful” graduate of a diversionary program created by Cantrell, the Pathways Youth Partnership Program, which allegedly takes a “hands-on” approach to enrollees.

The program is designed for 14-to 17-year-olds who have had some level of interaction with the juvenile justice system to connect with work opportunities.

Cantrell herself takes a “hands-on” approach with the program and makes herself present at graduation ceremonies, WWL-TV said. Emily Wolf, director of the Office of Youth and Families said that Cantrell “builds relationships” with attendees of the program and their families.

Clearly…to the detriment of crime victims the “graduates” go on to terrorize.

The president of the New Orleans City Council, Helena Moreno weighted in on the controversy and called Cantrell’s decision to show up in court “troubling.”

“To show up in court to show support for someone who is now being sentenced for several carjackings, I think it sends a troubling signal,” Moreno said. “I know that the public is very troubled by this. Particularly since we said that we are a city that is trying to help victims of crime.”

Moreno told the outlet that she also has been awaiting an explanation from Cantrell, but none had been forthcoming.

“Without a real thorough explanation as to why she was there, I think that causes additional questions,” Moreno said. “It’s confusing and it’s disturbing and I certainly see why the public is feeling outrage over this.”

Likewise, District Attorney Jason Williams was also unhappy with the sentence handed down by Darensburg, and also questioned why Cantrell showed up in court to support the suspect. He said prosecutors had pushed for detention for him.

“It was abundantly clear based on the facts, evidence, and circumstances that serious jail time was required,” Williams said. “We are extremely disappointed in the sentence that was ultimately handed down.”

It is unknown if Cantrell played a role in swaying the judge to give the young thug a slap on the wrist. However according to Fox 8, the public defender introduced Cantrell as a “character” witness for the thug who pulled a loaded gun on three women.

“Nobody at the DA’s Office, myself included, was given advance notice of the Mayor’s presence or can provide any context for her participation at yesterday’s hearing,” Williams said.

For the victims however, they are livid that Cantrell would sit with the family of the criminal who terrorized them. One, Madison Bergeron told WWL-TV that September 11, 2021, is a day she never forget.

She related how she had pulled into her driveway and was removing some belongings from the car, when she felt a tug on her handbag. As she turned around, the attacker shoved a gun in her face.

“He pulled the weapon out, he said give me everything you have,” said Bergeron.

The young scumbag then took her car, along with everything else inside.

Later that same day, another victim, who asked not to be identified, had returned home from an errand when the exact same circumstances occurred.

“There was a white car catty-cornered blocking me in and the next thing I turn and there’s yelling, and there’s a gun barrel in my face. The kid is yelling to get the “F out the car, get the F out the car,” or else he’ll shoot, so thinking I might die in that moment, my flashed before my eyes, I complied.”

That was the little scumbag’s second victim.

The two victims from above were upset about the light sentence, but more than that, they both were confused and angry about Cantrell’s appearing with the suspect’s family.

“The mayor is sitting by their side, consoling his family and it just kind of makes you think, whose side is the city on? Like, are they on your side? Do they care about victims?”

She continued, “She was sitting on the side of the attacker. She was sitting next to his mom. She was there for his mom and she wasn’t there for us. She was there for the crime.”

On Tuesday, a WWL-TV reporter asked Cantrell about the situation, and she tucked her tail and refused to answer, saying the following:

“I’m not taking any off-topic questions at this time. However I will make myself available to answer any questions you have.”

There are some of her allies, however who are speaking out, including City Councilman Oliver Thomas, who is typically aligned with Cantrell.

“I don’t have the authority to tell the mayor or any elected official what to do,” Thomas said. “But as chairman of Criminal Justice (committee) and someone who listens to the stories, who consoles victims, the rights of the victims and their families have to be first.”

Thomas also questioned Cantrell’s mindset and noted that supporting crime victims is ore than just good public relations but also helps victims to cooperate with police and prosecutors.

“We want to make sure that victims have the support of the system and the support of our leaders to come forward,” he said. “To come forward, right? To make sure they can help us in fighting some of this crime…so they’re not afraid to be witnesses. So they’re not afraid to say what happened to them.”

Another typical supporter of Cantrell, independent pollster and Xavier University professor Silas Lee, who worked with Cantrell on her two mayoral elections said Cantrell may indeed have a legitimate reason for showing up to support the criminal’s family, however her silence is allowing her critics to fill the void.

“Voters are so emotional right now anything can distract their attention or create the appearance that someone is fully and coherent with what they want,” he said. “You have to keep both hands on the wheel or otherwise you lose control. In today’s environment, it’s very easy to lose control of the narrative.”

When you’re a liberal Democrat mayor in a liberal Democrat city, the narrative doesn’t matter…no matter how much of a flaming ignoramus you are.


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