In an interview with a local news publication, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman accuses his critics of racism.
When asked by the New Orleans Tribune Editor Anita Brown if he thinks the criticism of his handling of OPP is personal or couched in "some sort of race-based effort...to malign your work," Gusman replied, "When somebody wants to take one thing that happened four years ago, blow it up into something really big...Sounds like they have another agenda."
Gusman was referring to the 2009 jailhouse video of OPP inmates drinking beer, shooting up drugs, and playing dice with large wads of cash. That video went viral after being played in federal court last week as part of the hearings in the OPP consent decree suit.
Without specifically naming New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu by name, Gusman suggested that the heavy-handed criticism of his tenure at OPP could be based upon his status as one of the relatively few remaining citywide-elected African American office holders.
"I see another agenda, but we have to be bigger than that, better than that...we're going to fight it. We're going to keep moving forward."
In the interview with the Tribune, Gusman also said that OPP's current statistics for typically problematic areas for jails are "within national averages." The Sheriff also said that contraband is a problem in every jail and prison facility in America.
"It's a prison, jail, some bad things are going to happen. You cannot sensationalize things like contraband," he told the Tribune.
WWL First News contacted the mayor's office for a reaction to this story. A spokesman for the mayor said they would not comment on it.
Click the window below to view the video of Gusman's interview with the New Orleans Tribune: