NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - When 13 people were shot over the weekend and Mayor Mitch Landrieu held a news conference to talk about it, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro says he became UN-nerved.
"He talked about the frustration he was experiencing, and how we were going to get tougher on crime in New Orleans. I guess my first reaction was, where has he been in the last nine months in the city of New Orleans," says Leon Cannizzaro.
Cannizzaro decided to express his frustrations through an Op-ed in the Advocate. He wrote, 'Mayor Mitch Landrieu has crafted a criminal justice policy that has repeatedly placed politics above public safety.'
"Fighting crime is not a part time job. You can't put in place one day, tough on crime policies, and then on another day, be a pacifist," says Cannizzaro.
Cannizzaro believes Landrieu's hiring freeze of NOPD officers years ago resulted in a depleted force that allowed the crime stats to rise.
"This is not an uptick. This is a sustained growth of violent crime that is crippling the community and is crippling the city of New Orleans," says Cannizzaro.
Cannizzaro says Mayor Landrieu expressed wanting a tougher enforcement of the law and more arrests to be made.
"However, six months ago, they mayor certainly was supportive of this office's budget to be cut by the amount of 600 thousand dollars. That has affected our ability to go after the violent criminals," says Cannizzaro.
We asked the Mayor's office for reaction and received the following statement:
Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission says while the NOPD's been funded to improve its ability to ensure public safety, the other components of the criminal justice system, like the D.A.;s office, were criticized for prosecuting too many cases.
"They have an absolute right to speak up when the adverse policies of the council and the mayor are affecting their ability to provide public safety to the citizens of New Orleans," says Goyeneche.
Chief Michael Harrison says his department is pro-active, and he says Mayor Landrieu has been very supportive of the NOPD.
"We just want to do our job. We are not going to let that interfere what we do. I have all the resources I need. Everything I've asked for, I've been given," says Chief Harrison.
According to the District Attorney, more than 700 people have been shot in New Orleans over the past 12 months. Cannizzaro says that's a 50 percent increase.