Crime victims upset after Mayor Cantrell attends court in support of juvenile perpetrator
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Crime victims say they felt victimized all over again when Mayor Latoya Cantrell showed up in court to support a juvenile perpetrator during sentencing.
“I was in shock. She wasn’t there for us. She was there for the assailant and his mother. It felt like she supported the crime,” says the victim.
“Your own Mayor isn’t supporting you,” says another victim.
Both women became victims of the same 13-year-old last September in separate incidents. They say he was one of three young gunmen who threatened and robbed them.
“I opened the door, and there is a kid in my face yelling at me to get out of the car and leave my keys or else he is going to shoot me,” says the victim.
“He had a gun, and he was like, I have a weapon. Give me everything you have,” says a victim.
Both women gave up their cars and belongings, and both say their lives were changed forever.
“I live in fear, and that’s not a good peaceful way to live,” says a victim.
“I don’t even feel safe. I’m always looking and praying that there’s not somebody out to get me again,” says a victim.
Putting their fears aside, both women and even a third victim testified in court against the juvenile, and Judge Renord Darensburg found him guilty.
Thursday, Judge Darensburg sentenced him, and the victims say they were taken aback when Mayor Cantrell walked into the courtroom.
“Someone approached us, and says, I’m going to warn you, the Mayor is here and she’s sitting on the other side,” says the victim.
“It’s like your city obviously doesn’t care and like the city is on the side of the attacker,” says a victim.
The victims are filled with emotions.
The Judge told FOX 8, the public defender introduced the Mayor as a character witness for the 13-year-old. While she didn’t speak, the victims say the Mayor sat next to the young attacker’s mother as they read their impact statements to the court.
“I couldn’t believe it. Three women were shedding tears and holding each other and comforting each other and she’s sitting next to this mom. I’m looking at the situation, and I’m confused. Did I do something wrong here? Was I at fault for something? That’s what I felt,” says the victim
The Judge sentenced the 13-year-old to 3 years suspended sentence, meaning no jail time. The Judge told FOX 8, “Outside influences do not impact my decisions. My decision was based on the best interest of the juvenile and the community as this youth participated in 8 months of programming and remains compliant.”
“There has to be some sort of consequence for an action that has traumatized and terrorized three innocent women and complicated our lives,” says a victim.
While the victims aren’t happy with the sentence, they say the Mayor’s support for the young criminal made them feel victimized all over again.
District Attorney Jason Williams released a statement saying:
“As I’ve said repeatedly since taking office in January 2021, the violent offenders wreaking havoc in our neighborhoods must be held accountable, and we are practicing what we preach at the DA’s Office. In this case, our prosecutors fought and argued for the judge to impose the maximum possible sentence. It was abundantly clear based on the facts, evidence, and circumstances that serious jail time was required to ensure accountability and public safety. We are extremely disappointed in the sentence that was ultimately handed down. Our office is deeply committed to securing justice for victims and survivors, but - especially as it pertains to juvenile offenders and our young people in New Orleans more broadly - it will take all of us to turn the tide. Nobody at the DA’s Office, myself included, was given advance notice of the Mayor’s presence or can provide any context for her participation at yesterday’s hearing.”
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