The Justice Department called the city's actions "cynical, unfair and flat-out wrong" in a court filing Friday, the latest salvo in a bitter battle over the landmark decree.
Federal attorneys said the city's request to abandon the consent decree, and its arguments for doing so, "underscore the need for NOPD reforms to be court-enforceable."
The Landrieu administration has sought to delay and vacate the consent decree, claiming the feds acted in bad faith, misled the city on several issues, and has a "pattern of misrepresenting the facts."
The administration is also contesting a separate consent decree over Sheriff Marlin Gusman's office and the city-funded jail. Landrieu has said the cost of both of these major reform packages is an undue burden.
The DOJ is seeking to keep the agreed-upon police reforms and push forward with them.
In Friday's court filing, federal attorneys said "The New Orleans Police Department has been a troubled agency for decades, and these troubles continue." They also pushed for immediacy.
The DOJ also noted that it has provided "significant financial support to the city's criminal justice system," to the tune of more than $21 million since 2009.
The feds also stressed that the pending jail consent decree is an entirely separate matter. The federal attorneys vehemently refuted the city's claim that it was blindsided by the jail decree and the corresponding costs of it.
Federal attorneys stated that the DOJ sent a draft version of the jail decree to Landrieu's administration in October 2011. The draft noted that the city should allocate funds necessary to carry out the jail reforms.
Landrieu spokesman Ryan Berni on Friday night released the following statement:
"The DOJ's filing today mischaracterizes our interactions over the last several years, especially as it relates to the OPP consent decree. We negotiated the NOPD decree in good faith, expecting the same from the DOJ. After extensive negotiations including cost considerations on the NOPD decree, the DOJ has demanded that the taxpayers of New Orleans fork over an ambiguous, unjustified sum of money for the prison decree.
It is clear that both the prison and NOPD consent decrees cannot be paid for at this time without raising taxes or laying off or furloughing employees. And it does not make sense to lay off or furlough police officers so the Sheriff can hire more prison guards and pay them higher salaries."