NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - U.S. Sen. John Kennedy said he wants New Orleans police officers to implement a controversial stop-and-frisk policy, saying that crime in the city a crisis of almost Katrina-like proportions.
"It's stealing the soul of this city," he said.
And Kennedy had strong words for Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
"I'm sure the Mayor has an opinion on climate change, he probably has an opinion on world hunger, world peace, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - but he's the Mayor of New Orleans and he's got 11 months left, and he needs to concentrate on one thing and one thing only and that's crime," said Kennedy.
Kennedy said crime is destroying the city and NOPD needs to implement what he calls a legitimate and legal law enforcement practice known as "Stop, Question and Frisk."
"It worked in New York," he said. "It's the only way I know left to get the guns and thugs and dopes off the street. We got young people killing young people and now other citizens, and the reason is they got these guns, and until you get the guns you're not going to stop it. The criticism of it is it's racial profiling. No, not when it's done correctly. When it's done correctly, race has nothing to do with it."
The ACLU said when done correctly, police should only stop someone based on actions - not their appearance.
"What they're not allowed to do is assume that if they don't like what you look like, that that means that they have reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion has to be based on what you're actually doing, that they can observe, not what they think you might do because you look funny," said Marjorie Esman with the ACLU.
Kennedy also said the city should be allocating more money to fight crime.
"If crime is your top priority - and it ought to be - that's what you fund first," Kennedy said. "Don't tell me you don't have the money. You have to go find it."
We requested on-camera interviews with both the mayor and the NOPD about this story.
In a statement, NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said:
"The NOPD is committed to pro-active, community focused police work that engages with the community and strategically targets criminals based on their behavior. We value our state and federal partners, and welcome any proposals in line with our commitment to maintaining public safety and retaining the trust of the entire community. "
The Mayor's Office issued this statement:
"The Mayor looks forward to working with our Congressional delegation on improving public safety. We have long made detailed requests of them to restore funding cuts that decrease federal support for police officers and grants that would help New Orleans protect against a terrorist attack—specifically the COPS and UASI programs. We look forward to more engagement with them on continuing to improve proactive, Constitutional community policing efforts."