Sheriff Gusman speaks publicly about embarrassing prison videos - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff Gusman speaks publicly about embarrassing prison videos

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New Orleans, La. - "That video in 2009 revealed in graphic details the devastating effects of crumbling outdated jail buildings that are lacking in modern measures." says Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman.

The videos, apparently made four years ago at the now-shuttered House of Detention, show inmates shooting heroin, snorting other drugs and even displaying a loaded gun.

"That is exactly why I closed that building last year and began phasing it out before Hurricane Katrina." says Gusman.

Gusman says when his office discovered the videos a few years ago, there was an investigation.

"I don't know what the motivations were behind all of that, but we didn't find anything. There was no harm. There was no contraband found. We searched, we strip-searched the inmates, we shook down the cells twice, so that's all we had." says Gusman.

As for the living conditions shown on the videos, where inmates were sleeping on the floor and being served meals next to the showers, Gusman seemed to dismiss those claims.

"A lot of them don't like to sleep on the beds. They sleep on the floors.  But look, that chapter is closed.  That building is closed. We are never going to open it again." says Gusman.

"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 Mitch Landrieu.

Landrieu called the videos outrageous and pointed to management of the jail as the major problem.  "If something is going to be fixed, one of our processes has been, we're not going to throw money into a system that doesn't work. You have to reform the system. You have to reform management practices." says Landrieu.

Gusman slammed Mayor Landrieu.  "The Mayor chooses to waste time with Washington-style politics and Archie Bunker rhetoric." says Gusman

Landrieu issued a statement Thursday evening after Gusman spoke with the media. Landrieu said, "This week, expert after expert talked about mismanagement and said this was one of the worst run jails in the country."

"Look, I'm not going to respond to paid experts that are getting paid to come up with a statement. I'm here. I'm elected and I'm doing the job." says Gusman.

Landrieu also said in his statement that the Sheriff's Office is not keeping the prison secure and the city safe.  The mayor is asking for a federal receiver to come in and run the jail.

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