Attorney for former OPP inmate shown in video speaks out - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Attorney for former OPP inmate shown in video speaks out

Former OPP Inmate Arthur Johnson, seen in one of three videos shown in court Tuesday Former OPP Inmate Arthur Johnson, seen in one of three videos shown in court Tuesday

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman is expected to face questions Thursday morning about three videos depicting inmates doing drugs, gambling and even freely roaming the streets.

Gusman will testify at a hearing in federal court on a proposed consent decree for the Orleans Parish Prison.  His testimony will come a day after we learned new information about one of the inmates shown on video walking on Bourbon Street.

Arthur Johnson can be heard on the tape saying, "I'm on Bourbon...ya heard me, I ain't supposed to be out here. I'm supposed to be in jail."

He was arrested and brought to prison on drug possession charges several years ago. He claims, while serving time, he went to Bourbon Street for a night out on the town.

Attorney Robert Hjortsberg represented Johnson in 2009. He says his client must have had help getting out, saying, "I don't think he was kicking any walls down to get out. How else could you get out of the jail? Walk around the jail facility, look at how it's laid out."

Johnson admits to escaping from the House of Detention in 2009 for an entire week. After he was captured, FOX 8 cameras rolled as Johnson was walked back into OPP. At the time he said, "I've got a lot of footage inside the jail, ya heard me? Three tapes. Everything that's going in there."

When a reporter asked what the tapes show, Johnson replied, "Everything going on in there. Drug use, guns, everything on the inside."

This week, two other videos were shown in federal court of inmates gambling, doing drugs and even waving around a loaded gun. What isn't clear is when the videos were taken.

Attorneys for the city believe the video of Johnson walking on Bourbon was shot while he was supposed to be behind bars and not during that week that he had escaped from prison. If that's the case, many observers, including Hjortsberg, wonder how an inmate was allowed to leave for the night.

Hjortsberg says, "You've got to wonder, if they were able to do that and there was such a lack of supervision in certain areas of the jail, what else was going on?"

Hjortsberg hasn't spoken to Johnson recently, as he's serving time in a state prison for simple escape, drug possession and having contraband in jail.  But he has an idea what his client might think about the videos being made public.

"I think he's thinking the same thing that a lot of people are thinking... the fact that the community, the society is able to see everything that goes on, people's eyes are starting to open up and I think some real reform is going to begin," Hjortsberg said.

Again, Arthur Johnson referenced three videos back in 2009 when he was brought back to the Orleans Parish Prison. And there have only been three videos seized by the city's legal team. So some wonder if Johnson is responsible for shooting all three videos that have been shown this week in federal court.

Powered by Frankly