Federal assistant AG Thomas Perez is considering filing a “pattern or practice” lawsuit against the New Orleans Police Department as a result of all the killings and coverups perpetrated by that department since Katrina. Due to niceties in federal law, such a suit, if won by the feds, would effectively allow the Justice Department to determine how the NOPD runs for a while.
What I find most interesting in the coverage of the story, though, is this: Even though Perez wants to take over the NOPD because of a lengthy and recent record of police killings of innocent people and ensuing cover-ups, Perez still can’t bring himself to call the NOPD “corrupt,” “malignant,” “evil,” or even “dangerous.” Perez and a New Orleans defense attorney (!) refer to the NOPD as “troubled,” which moniker the rest of us use to describe a rebellious and unhappy, but otherwise harmless, teenager.
I’m guessing that Perez and the defense attorney avoid stronger language partly instinctively in the avoidance of incurring personal liability (a habit lawyers learn quickly), and partly to avoid shaking our faith in government itself — political correctness at its most transparent. But it makes me wonder: If killing the people they’ve sworn “to protect and serve” earns a police department the label “troubled,” what must it take for these folks to refer to a department as “corrupt”?