NEW ORLEANS - The city continues to push for the feds to take over the Orleans Parish Jail. However, the ACLU of Louisiana said its not so simple.
From inmate escapes to violence behind bars and then a video exposing drugs, beer, and a gun inside the Orleans Parish Jail -- all are realities highlighting need for reform. This week, the Landrieu administration filed a legal brief saying Sheriff Marlin Gusman isn't the man for the job when it comes to reforming OPP.
"It is true that the sheriff has not done the job that he should have done, which is why we're in this mess to begin with," said ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman.
The city's legal brief said that the proposed OPP consent decree will take time and energy and requires "leadership from someone dedicated to being the jailer of Orleans Parish and not just hosting Easter egg hunts in the park." Earlier in April, Gusman had choice words for Mayor Landrieu regarding the proposed consent decree.
"The Mayor chooses to waste time with Washington style politics and Archie Bunker rhetoric," said Gusman.
Tensions continued to climb between the mayor and sheriff. Landrieu maintained the city doesn't have enough money to fund the consent decree and Gusman said it's not needed.
"For everybody to go around infighting over who didn't do what and when, isn't in the interest of the people of Orleans Parish who are entitled to a jail that's run in a constitutional fashion," said Esman. As the city continues to push for a federal receiver to take over the jail, Esman says it would ultimately mean trying to remove an elected official, which is never easy.
"The sheriff is an elected official. The people of Orleans Parish have elected Marlin Gusman to be the sheriff three times.
You can't just strip an elected official of his power that easily. There would have to be separate showing that would justify that," said Esman.
Eyewitness News reached out to the Gusman on Tuesday night who issued a statement in response to the mayor's recent legal brief:
"I am committed to improving the jail and have been ever since I took office.
The construction underway will improve the efficiencies, safety, and security of jail.
This filing is another desperate attempt to deflect the attention away from the city's failure to adequately fund the operations of the jail."