Compass Scraps Plan To Have Nation Of Islam Member Train Officers

Associated Press/June 14, 2005

New Orleans -- Amid complaints from officers and religious leaders, the New Orleans Police Department has canceled plans for the security director for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to provide sensitivity training to police.

Police Superintendent Eddie Compass is rescinding a $15,000 contract with Dennis Muhammad, who has provided similar training in other cities.

Farrakhan once called Judaism a "dirty religion" and has preached racial separatism.

"I just have to believe someone else is out there who can come and offer this service other than a man who is chief of security for Minister Farrakhan," said local Rabbi Edward Cohn.

The choice of Mohammed also was criticized by the ACLU.

"We don't have to reinvent the wheel," said ACLU spokesman Joe Cook. "We don't have to bring in someone from outside. There are people here familiar with the police department.

Lt. David Benelli, president of the Police Association of New Orleans, said officers of all ranks, races and religions had voiced "outrage and disgust" about the decision to hire Muhammad.

Marlon Defillo, a police spokesman, said the police chief did not intend to upset anyone.

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