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News Wrap: Justice Department Orders New Orleans Police to Clean Up Corruption

July 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street slid lower for a third day, partly over renewed fears that Europe’s debt crisis still is not under control. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 104 points to close at 12,617. The Nasdaq fell 27 points to close just under 2,863.

The New Orleans Police Department will have to undertake a sweeping program of federally supervised reforms. The U.S. Justice Department announced the changes today. They include mandatory training on the use of force, new diversity standards for recruitment, and videotaping of interrogations in homicide and sexual assault cases. The measures are aimed at eradicating decades of corruption, mismanagement, and abuse.

The city of Anaheim, Calif., braced for more protests today, after police killed two Hispanic men over the weekend. The first was unarmed when he was killed Saturday. Police said he was a gang member, but didn’t say why he was shot.

Hours later, a near-riot broke out as protesters clashed with police. Police responded by firing bean bags and pepper balls, and one police dog ran into the crowd and grabbed a man by the arm.

On Sunday, officers killed a second man. They said he fired on them first. So far this year, there have been six officer-involved shootings, and five of those were fatal.

For more on this, I’m joined by David Nazar of PBS SoCal.

So, David, help put these protests in perspective for us. Why are they gaining momentum?

DAVID NAZAR, PBS SoCal: Well, they’re gaining momentum because they feel their voice is finally being heard.

Hari, this didn’t begin this past Saturday and Sunday with the Diaz and Acevedo shooting by Anaheim cops. This is a culmination of anger against the city of Anaheim and the police department. You have primarily a Latino contingent that’s very angry at what’s been going on.

Back in March, there was a shooting of a young man by cops. The officer remained on duty. No action was taken. Now this Saturday and Sunday, you have these two incidents. The crowds converges. Of course, the police go in there, the tear gas, the rubber bullets, another catastrophe.

Finally, those in the Latino community say they want action. There’s going to be a city council meeting going on this evening. Hundreds are going to be gathering in front of city hall. And they feel for the first time with enough momentum, the mayor is going to have to say, hey, we have got to do something to be proactive, Hari.

HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, what’s the status of the investigation into the behavior of the police officers? The police chief came out and said that he apologizes, or the canine officer apologizes, didn’t mean for the dog to get out.

But what’s happening to the officers?

DAVID NAZAR: The officers involved in the shootings are now on paid administrative leave, but more importantly you have sort of a shift with city leaders and their viewpoint.

They’re saying we’re not going to go this alone. For the first time, I have heard the mayor come out and say, hey, we’re going to bring the states and the feds into this, the state attorney general, the U.S. attorney’s office. They want another pair of eyes and ears on this thing, because, again, many in the Latino community say this is just the culmination of years of abuse by cops on the Latino community. And they feel finally action is going to be taken, Hari.

HARI SREENIVASAN: All right, David Nazar, PBS SoCal, thanks for the update.

A Roman Catholic cleric in Philadelphia was sentenced to three to six years in prison today for covering up sexual abuse by priests. Monsignor William Lynn is the most senior clergymen convicted in the long-running scandal. For a dozen years, he handled priest assignments and child sexual assault complaints in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Lynn plans to appeal his conviction on a charge of child endangerment.

Prosecutors in Britain have charged eight more today in the phone hacking scandal. All worked at a Rupert Murdoch tabloid that’s since been shut down.

We have a report from Andy Davies of Independent Television News.

ANDY DAVIES: The names and faces may be unfamiliar to many, but in the world of tabloid journalism and in politics, they mattered enormously, especially names Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. In 2003, he succeeded her as the editor of what was then Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, The News of the World. He’d later become David Cameron’s communications chief, she elevated to run Rupert Murdoch’s businesses in Britain, a friend to prime ministers.

And yet, today, both stood accused of being involved in the most notorious episode of this whole hacking scandal, of conspiring with others to intercept the voice-mails of the murdered school girl Milly Dowler.

Within hours of the charges, the prime minister’s former press chief gave this statement outside his London home.

ANDY COULSON, former editor, News of the World: I’m obviously extremely disappointed by the CPS decision today. I will fight these allegations when they eventually get to court. But I would like to say one thing today about the Milly Dowler allegations.

Anyone who knows me or has worked with me would know that I wouldn’t — more importantly, that I didn’t — do anything to damage the Milly Dowler investigation.

 ANDY DAVIES: What’s so striking about today’s charges is just how far up the editorial chain at the News of the World the CPS claim this conspiracy went. At seemingly every decision-making level, there was involvement, it’s alleged.

 Stuart Kuttner was once managing editor at the News of the World. Ian Edmondson was a news editor there, so, too, Greg Miskiw. James Weatherup was an assistant news editor, Neville Thurlbeck once their award-winning chief reporter, all big tabloid names.

HARI SREENIVASAN: If they’re convicted, those charged could serve up to two years in prison.

The British government is going ahead with plans to deploy 1,200 more soldiers to help secure the Olympic Games in London. The opening ceremony is just three days away. But the private firm hired to guard the Games has been unable to fill all the security positions. With the new deployment, more than 17,000 troops have been called out to cover the shortfall.

The leader of a model democracy in Africa died today. John Atta Mills had been president of Ghana since 2008. There was no word on the cause of death. The vice president was sworn in as the new president within hours, underscoring the country’s adherence to constitutional stability. John Atta Mills was 68 years old.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.