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New Orleans councilman calls for harsher penalties on illegal stunt driving

Penalties may include fines up to $500 or 90 days in jail.

NEW ORLEANS — A day after New Orleans leaders promised a citywide crackdown on illegal stunt driving, one city councilman is calling for stiff penalties.

Eugene Green has been working on a proposed ordinance to make donuts and other displays of dangerous driving a specific criminal offense.

The issue came to a head on Sunday, when local and out of town groups shut down at least four city intersections to drift and burn rubber.

At one of the events, spectators attacked an NOPD cruiser.

“It’s a dangerous thing to do and it’s really, obviously out of hand and we as a city can’t tolerate that,” Green said.

The fines for stunt driving in the city would be $500 or up to 90 days in jail.

In Baton Rouge, fines go up to $1,000 for a second offense.

Police can also impound any cars used in illegal street racing or stunt driving for 15 days.

East Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Rowdy Gaudet says he’s working with law enforcement to come up with more severe penalties.

“We certainly will be looking at the impound time,” Gaudet said. “Are there ways to look at license suspension are there mechanisms like that, that we can enact that would deter folks from doing it

Green is listening.

“I still have another week to look at it and I’m going to look into what Baton Rouge has done to allow for the forfeiture of vehicles,” Green said.

Police Association of New Orleans attorney Eric Hessler says to crack down on the pop-up stunt shows, NOPD also has to relax some of its policies.

“You would have had to have the ability to either intercept, stop or pursue these vehicles or else you’re just creating a bigger danger,” Hessler said.

A city council committee is now expected to discuss the dangerous driving ordinance next Wednesday.

Orleans District attorney agreed to charge perpetrators with more serious state crimes. 

In a written statement, Williams said, “I strongly agree with (NOPD) Supt. Shaun Ferguson about the need to charge these illegal stunt drivers and organizers of street racing events under state statutes to demand stiffer penalties. 

"From Day 1, my top priority has been to increase safety in our city. For those who organized the brazen criminal acts committed on our streets on Sunday, and for anyone who participated in any way - whether with cars or firearms - my office will not hesitate to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law. 

"These events were reckless and dangerous. I have already begun working with DA Hillar Moore of East Baton Rouge Parish, where many of the perpetrators apparently reside, to explore a strategy to charge these individuals in multiple jurisdictions."

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