Gusman on OPP stabbing: We're doing our best

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 19 at 6:21 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Orleans Parish Prison is still reeling from a June 6 fight between two inmates in the youth tier of the sprawling Mid-City complex.

Prison officials confirm 18-year-old accused killer Edward Dean poured hot grits over 16-year-old Brian Ellis's face. Ellis is accused of participating in a savage beating in the Marigny neighborhood. Dean then reportedly stabbed Ellis 20 times.

Sheriff Marlin Gusman says Ellis provoked the attack.

"We do our best," said Gusman. "These types of things are things we try to avoid. This happened during a meal, not during some isolated time of night. Everybody was out there."

The attack happened on the very day a federal judge approved a consent decree mandating sweeping reforms at OPP.

"On the day that the consent decree was signed, we got a series of pretty serious calls out at the jail indicating that there was a lot of violence that day, but unfortunately, that's not unusual," said Katie Schwartzman from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu says he's not surprised by the level of violence at the jail.

"I've asked the Secretary of Corrections to take all the state prisoners out of the jail to free up the sheriff's staff to focus the prisoners who should be there," said Landrieu. "He told me he would be in the process of doing that."

Gusman admits even with a new modern jail facility coming online some time next year and the court mandated reforms, there's still going to be some problems behind bars at OPP.

"I wish I could tell you that it would all stop, if we didn't have dangerous individuals in our custody. Look, they're in our custody because they can't be on the street."

Edward Dean is now facing a new charge of aggravated battery.

 

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