DA, AG blame N.O. Mayor for rising crime problem

New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro wrote a column in The New Orleans Advocate criticizing Mayor Mitch Landrieu for a public safety strategy the DA believes has ultimately endangered people in the city.

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro wrote a column in the New Orleans Advocate newspaper, criticizing Mayor Mitch Landrieu for a public safety strategy the DA believes has ultimately endangered people in the city.

"You cannot, on one day, espouse tough on crime policies and then on the next day come out with certain pacifist ideas with regard to criminal justice and expect the crime problem to miraculously go away," Cannizzaro said.

The DA also disagrees with the mayor's assessment that the city is experiencing a "recent" uptick in crime. He noted that the city has seen more than 700 shootings in the last 365 days.

"I think that what we're seeing, unfortunately, is a sustained and dramatic increase in violent criminal activity in the city of New Orleans," Cannizzaro said.

READ CANNIZZARO'S FULL COLUMN HERE

Monday, NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison did not respond to the DA's scathing opinion piece, but claims the Landrieu administration has given his department everything it needs.

"I have the resources I need," Harrison said. "Everything that I've asked for, I've been given and I, in turn, give that to the men and women of the police department to do their jobs."

Cannizzaro said while the NOPD may be getting everything it needs from the city, it is quite the opposite for his office. Cannizzaro complains that this year, the city cut his budget by $600,000.

"The mayor's cutting of my budget has also effected our ability to go after the violent criminal," Cannizzaro said. "My budget was cut because basically I'm a bad actor because I accept too many cases."

Landrieu's communications director Tyronne Walker blasted Cannizzaro's column.

"Like President Trump, the District Attorney is trying to create a distraction from several scandals, including his attempts to lock up innocent rape victims and strong-arm witnesses with fake 'subpoenas,'" Walker wrote. "The people of New Orleans are smarter than he gives them credit for and understand he is playing politics with public safety because he is upset about a budget cut.  The people of our city also understand that we have to be tough and smart on crime."

Cannizzaro argues that there was nothing smart about the mayor's NOPD hiring freeze when he first took office.

"The police department now is down 500 officers as a result of his inability to bring on new recruits," Cannizzaro said.

Cannizzaro isn't the only top prosecutor taking aim at Landrieu's crime policies.

This week, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry posted a social media video, accusing Landrieu of playing politics instead of focusing on violence in the city.

"The mayor consistently wants to get on some national media stage to talk about monuments and sea level rise while people in his city are being victimized," Landry said.  "It is all on his shoulders. This crime wave was created by him."

The Attorney General once again criticized Landrieu's immigration policies which he claims casts New Orleans as a so-called "sanctuary city."

© 2017 WWL-TV


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