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Posted: Tuesday, 01 July 2014 3:48PM

Mayor, Chief, U.S. Attorney sound off after Bourbon Street shooting

"Shameful and senseless," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said about the shooting early Sunday in which ten people were wounded on Bourbon Street

The mayor held a news conference with other officials today reacting to the crime.

"It is infuriating," he said.  "It makes you want to scream or cry or both."

The mayor promised to work around the clock to bring those responsible to justice.

He noted this is just one example, however, of a much bigger problem.

"There is a constant drumbeat of shooting and death day after day after day," Landrieu said of the violence in New Orleans and across the country. "This is a humanitarian crisis."

FULL AUDIO: Mayor Landrieu's Press Conference following Bourbon St shooting

He gave examples of similar violence in cities across the country in recent day.

"I am making a clarion call to every level of the government to protect our streets!" Landrieu proclaimed.  "This is not just a New Orleans problem, it happens all over America."

He says he has sent a letter to the President and other federal officials asking for additional assets to help fight violent crime.  He accused the feds of being largely absent in the battle to end violence on city streets in America.

"I have also written to the governor and asked him to assign 100 state troopers to new Orleans on a permanent basis," the mayor explained.

He said they "would be a welcome addition to our police department."

Landrieu demanded, "We have to do more , it has to stop, and the time is now."

The mayor also called on those who know what happened and who the shooters are to come forward.

Police Chief Ronal Serpas announced that detectives have "made great headway since yesterday" in finding the people they are looking for.

"At the end of the day we are not going to stop until we find these people," he said.

The chief also worked to make people feel safe with major events this weekend.

"We want to make sure that the people of New Orleans and the visitors to our town understand we have a very robust plan," he insisted.  Serpas said they will protect people at Essence Fest and Go 4th on the River.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite offered very strong words that echoed some of the mayor's thoughts.

"We need more soldiers in this battle!" the top federal prosecutor for this region demanded.

He also called on residents to step up.

"Whether you accept it or not, your are in the middle of a battle, the new battle for the City of New Orleans," Polite said.  "Standing on the sidelines is no longer an option... you can no longer stand on the sidelines."

He said everyone in the community must pick sides with the criminals or the government, and he insisted doing nothing is picking the wrong side.

Polite also spoke directly to people who know the identities of the shooters.

"If you have information, you have to come forward," the U.S. Attorney said.

He said that people who believe that "snitching" of coming forward to help police is a bad thing, are very wrong.

"That is the handiwork of the devil.  That is one of the worst lies after perpetrated," Polite pleaded. "Help us win this battle."

He did say that this morning his office received approval to higher three more assistants to prosecute violent crime in and around New Orleans.

Polite also took time to address controversy surrounding the federal consent decree from the Justice Department on mandated changes within the NOPD.

"I live here in Southeast Louisiana, in New Orleans," he said.  "I will make sure this is a document the works FOR us."

Below is the full text of a press release the Mayor's office sent out after the conference.



NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas, United States Attorney Kenneth Polite, and Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans President Darlene Cusanza, and members of the New Orleans City Council to provide an update on the City’s response following the Sunday, June 29, 2014 shooting incident on Bourbon Street that injured ten people and called for additional resources from the United States federal government and the State of Louisiana and to combat violence.

Click here to see today’s press conference on YouTube.

“This past weekend, ten people were wounded by gunfire in New Orleans at a brazen shooting incident on world-renowned Bourbon Street,” Mayor Landrieu said. “These kinds of incidents will not go unanswered. The NOPD is pursuing leads and we encourage eyewitnesses to continue to come forward. These perpetrators will be brought to justice. We are working every day to make New Orleans safer and our crime fighting efforts are achieving results as we have brought murders in the city of New Orleans to a historic nearly 30-year low. We will not rest until every corner of this city is safe.”

Landrieu added, “In response to this shooting, I have spoken with the White House and Governor Jindal to request additional resources from the federal and state government to help turn the tide of violence in our communities. Our neighborhoods are being terrorized and innocent children and visitors are being caught in this crossfire. More must be done at every level of government to bring order back to our streets.”

Today, the City sent letters requesting additional resources from the United States federal government and the State of Louisiana to combat violence. Those letters are attached to this release.

In the City’s letter to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, United States Attorney General Eric Holder, Louisiana congressional delegation, and the federal government the City of New Orleans has requested the following:
1) Re-invigorate the federal COPS program to put police officers on the street;
2) Deploy a targeted surge team of federal enforcement officers from the DEA, ATF and FBI along with federal prosecutors;
3) Amend federal law to allow federal prosecution of the illegal use of a firearm; and,
4) Deploy a team of United States Park Police from the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Park Service to protect the many national historic and cultural sites in the heavily-visited Vieux Carre Historic District.

In the City’s letter to Governor Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana Legislature, and the state government the City of New Orleans has requested the following:
1) Permanently assign 100 Louisiana State Police to New Orleans;
2) Beef up the New Orleans District Probation and Parole Office within the Department of Corrections;
3) Honor state obligations to fund the District Attorney’s Office and the Indigent Defenders Office;
4) Invest in mental health and substance abuse programs;
5) Support allocating a larger portion of the hotel/motel tax to the City of New Orleans on future hotel developments; and,
6) Rededicate one penny of hotel/motel tax from the Convention Center to the City of New Orleans for public safety needs.

"I am making a plea to all the young men of New Orleans, and I know it might not mean a lot coming from a middle aged man. I am asking you to put down your guns," said At-Large Councilmember Jason Williams. "Please realize that carrying or pointing a gun is a path to self-destruction, and also destroys the fabric and culture of this city. A gun does not make you a man. Look at the anger and wrath which is coming down on the two shooters whom the entire city is currently looking for. Along with the people they have injured, their lives are destroyed."
“The City Council stands with Mayor Landrieu in his request that the state and federal governments commit additional law enforcement resources to our fight against violent crime in the City of New Orleans," said District A Councilmember Susan Guidry. "I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Council, Mayor Landrieu, Chief Serpas, and the citizens of New Orleans to strengthen and improve our law enforcement and to provide opportunities and alternatives for our young people.”


FULL TEXT: Mayor Landrieu's letter to Governor Jindal

FULL TEXT: Mayor Landrieu's letter to President Obama and Vice President Biden

Filed Under :  
Locations : New OrleansSoutheast Louisiana
People : Kenneth PoliteMitch LandrieuRonal Serpas
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