New Orleans Police Commander Reassigned After Alleged Instructions to Target Young Black Men

Michelle Krupa and Brendan McCarthy, Nola (New Orleans), July 5, 2011

As one of the nation’s premier festivals celebrating African-American culture got under way Friday, the commander of an elite New Orleans police unit instructed his officers to target young black men for questioning, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Police Commander Eddie Selby, the head of the NOPD’s Special Operations Division, was reassigned and placed under internal investigation Monday for allegedly giving his officers “inappropriate instructions” before they embarked on downtown patrols.

Selby made the comments to a diverse group of more than 30 people, including patrol officers and ranking supervisors, at a roll call meeting before sending them off to their assignments, the sources said. He told his officers to look for young black males sitting on stoops because they are responsible for recent armed robberies and are likely carrying guns, the sources said.

Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Tuesday that there is “no evidence” that Selby’s comments led to improper arrests.

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The NOPD has been accused of racial profiling before. In March, a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report questioned whether the NOPD’s arrest practices were discriminatory. The federal probe, part of a civil litigation review that will lead to an eventual consent decree, found that African-American residents are arrested in disproportionate numbers and that the disparity occurs with serious crimes–ranging from homicide to larceny–as well as less-serious offenses.

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  • Anonymous

    The main source of discrimination is Obama’s Department of Justice that wants to pretend the Blacks commit crimes at the small rate that whites do. However, because they commit more crimes, they are arrested more, convicted more, and spend more time in jail. It is not discrimination; it is simply enforcing the law. But Obama’s DoJ wants to obstruct that enforcement.

  • Question Diversity

    Targeting young black men in New Orleans because they might be committing crimes? That’s about as insightful as testing liquid water for wetness.

  • OBSERVER

    I am sure the officer is white.

    This officer should have known better. I would imagine after 2 or 3 weeks on the job, a policeman LEARNS fast what is what. You don’t EVER, EVER single out blacks. Rather, he should have been smart enough to say: “Watch out for young people from the community who may have evil nasty handguns”. Better yet, he should have told the rest of the officers to look out for “HANDGUNS” that may cause problems since we all know that the HANDGUN may jump up, point itself at somebody and decide to fire off itself.

    Either way, this is one white man who perhaps got his awakening. Let’s hope so.

  • Mike H.

    “found that African-American residents are arrested in disproportionate numbers”

    A five second glance at their own crime statistics could have shown them that.

    It’s because African-American residents commit crimes in disproportionate numbers.

  • HH

    What kind of crazed, backward, racist maniac would instruct his POLICE OFFICERS to focus their efforts on the people who commit 95% of the crime? I mean, what kind of irrational, horrible human being would do such a thing??

    Up is down, right is left, cold is hot, day is night, thin is fat, dry is wet…

  • Anonymous

    Should have said be on the lookout for urban youth carrying guns.

  • WantSafeStreets

    Disproportionate incarceration of blacks occurs because there is disproportionate criminality among blacks. And if the police are trying to use their limited resources efficiently, they should devote a little extra attention to young black men.

    What is amazing is that so much of our country just doesn’t understand this!

  • Sylvie

    The NOPD has been accused of racial profiling before. In March, a scathing U.S. Department of Justice report questioned whether the NOPD’s arrest practices were discriminatory. The federal probe, part of a civil litigation review that will lead to an eventual consent decree, found that African-American residents are arrested in disproportionate numbers and that the disparity occurs with serious crimes—ranging from homicide to larceny—as well as less-serious offenses.

    Ok then, what the police should do is ‘an unofficial experiment’ of sorts. Stop and search 1000 young blacks and 1000 young Whites. Make a graph of the ‘disparities’ and publish it officially making the data available to the general public.

    What excuses would be made up for all these ‘disproportionate numbers’ then?

  • SKIP

    . It is not discrimination; it is simply enforcing the law.

    Silly officers, they should know that SOME laws you enforce, SOME laws you simply DO NOT enforce.

  • Anonymous

    Always remember this…it’s not racial profiling, it’s CRIMINAL profiling!

  • Turtle

    In an odd way this reminds me of Casablanca when Bogart is asked why he came to Casablanca. He answers,” For the water, I came for the water.” You pay special attention to young black men in urban settings because they disportionately commit more crime. Questioning elderly Asian women maybe PC, but ineffective policing. You want water, go to were the waters are.

  • jdavis

    I am proud to say the Houston Police were so mean to katrina gangs brought here to avoid the storm, they couldn’t wait to get home to “lousyanna.”

    Criminal profiling is what it’s about…its just that blacks get in the way.

  • Tom S.

    I’ll cut to the chase folks – what White man would WANT to be a police commander – or anything else for that matter – in a city run by blacks? Any Whites that would do this aren’t/can’t be race realists and so are getting what they deserve in my opinion. Me personally, I’d do my research and get a job at a police dept. in the Whitest small town I could find, probably change my name to Barney Fife.

  • down the bayou

    Whites in Louisiana are being punished for LA being in the Confederacy, and continuing to fly our Flag outside of courthouses. Look it up on that NYT racial demography map. In Harvey, north of Dr. MLK Jr park, is a 100% black census district. The census district I live in is 86% White.