Mayor Landrieu reacts to shocking prison videos - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Mayor Landrieu reacts to shocking prison videos

Updated:

New Orleans, La. - Sheriff Marlin Gusman is expected to take the stand Thursday morning to face tough questions about conditions inside of the jail and explosive videos.

The videos, believed to be shot by inmates inside of the now-shuttered House of Detention, aired during the second day of the federal court hearing over the proposed consent decree to reform Orleans Parish Prison.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu calls the content on the videos "unacceptable" and says it proves how poorly the jail has been managed.

"It's not something we're unaware of. The question gets to be who's responsibility was it. The sheriff is the keeper of the jail." says Mayor Landrieu

Sheriff Gusman's testimony will no doubt be a critical point in the legal battle over jail reform.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says the tapes are damning.

"This is crushing. You've got people in there with an ice chest full of beer, marijuana, heroin and more importantly loaded guns.  They've had possession of this videotape for some time. That's what I've got the biggest problem with. Who had possession of it?  How long did he have it and why didn't he turn it over the day he got it?" says Raspanti.

Mayor Landrieu says Sheriff Gusman was in possession of the tapes when lawyers for the city learned of their experience.  "We're always preparing for trial and you ask for things and you get them. I think they were introduced yesterday at trial, so that's when I first knew about it." says Mayor Landrieu.

Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin testified Wednesday, saying the sheriff simply cannot manage the jail, regardless of the amount of money. He also reiterated Landrieu's call for a federal receiver to take charge of the facility.

Landrieu says reforms are needed, but money is a major issue.  

"That is one of the reasons that we are arguing with the court. We're asking them not to issue a judgment where it has to come out of the city's general fund this year where we pay $22 million. It doesn't make sense to lay off police officers to hire more guards when, in fact, half of the guards aren't guarding the prisoners. This is a management issue." says Mayor Landrieu.

So far, Gusman has said little about the videos, only that they were made at the jail building that is now closed and emphasizing that the building is owned by the city.

Gusman is expected to be the final witness to testify before Judge Lance Africk decides whether or not to approve the consent decree.

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