NOPD Reverses Controversial Practice

February 3rd, 2012 | Posted in Courts, Local Issues, NOPD by Seth Bloom | No Comments »

Photo Courtesy of NOLA.com

Earlier this week, we reported on the murder of good Samaritan Harry “Mike” Ainsworth, who was shot to death while attempting to stop a carjacking.

In accordance with a year-long policy of releasing the criminal records of murder victims in the city, NOPD dug up Mr. Ainsworth’s rap sheet, which included arrests for traffic violations and possession of marijuana – completely inconsequential to the crime he was a victim of. NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas vigorously defends his “broader perspectives” policy, stating that it shows city residents that “bad things happen to bad people.” But then a 27-year-old and father of two with a few blemishes on his record was murdered, and adhering to the letter of the policy appeared massively insensitive and pointless.

Serpas repealed the policy Wednesday, saying in a written statement he was getting rid of it “after consulting privately with local clergy leaders over the last weeks.”

Surely, we think everyone should be entitled to freely access information, especially those on criminals within our city. But this one-size-fits all policy does not achieve that goal of education – rather, it emphasizes and expands the divide between people.

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