Orleans DA says city leaders are putting politics over public safety

DA upset with city's public safety plan

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Orleans Parish district attorney blasted city leaders Tuesday, saying they're putting politics ahead of public safety. His strong words come a day after the city announced a new $40 million public safety initiative.

D.A. Leon Cannizzaro didn't mince words when talking about city leaders.

"Since I addressed you guys last year, certain elected officials are taking some frighteningly dangerous steps backwards in the city's fight against violent crime, and make no mistake about it they have turned their guns on the district attorney's office because we will not subscribe to certain radical policies," Cannizzaro said.

While speaking at the Metropolitan Crime Commission luncheon Tuesday afternoon, Cannizzaro said the city has placed the public at risk by cutting his budget by $600,000 and attacking his office for accepting too many cases.

"We were forced to pull our resources from murder scenes at a time when the city is trumpeting a $40 million public safety initiative. I must ask will my office be punished further if we have the audacity to prosecute the cases that result from this public safety initiative," Cannizzaro said.

Cannizzaro also criticized at least one piece of the city's new public safety initiative.

"What does the plan include? As you might imagine, it did not include any resources for the systemically underfunded district attorney's office in the City of New Orleans, but it does apparently include funding for increased parking enforcement. Now, that's important. If there is some correlation, ladies and gentlemen, between armed robbery and shooting and people who park their car too close to the corner or on the curb, no one told me about that," said Cannizzaro.

And, the D.A. says the city saw a dramatic increase in the number of shootings in 2016.

"Now, let's get to the frightening part: While some elected leaders want to tell you that the city is safe and that public safety is their number one priority, objective facts simply do not agree. As of this morning, 50 people have been shot in the City of New Orleans and there have been 15 murders in the first 23 days of this year. Make no mistake about it, these are staggering numbers," said Cannizzaro.

Cannizzaro said at this time last year, the city had 17 shootings. He said if the crime continues on the current 2017 pace, the number of shootings will reach over 700.

We reached out to the city about this story, but they have not returned our request for comment.

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