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At MLK Day ceremony, Mayor Cantrell calls for social justice, decries violence | Crime/Police

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At a wreath-laying ceremony to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Mayor Latoya Cantrell and different metropolis officers issued a name to struggle for voting rights and social justice, but in addition decried the rise in gun violence and armed robberies plaguing town. 

“My coronary heart is feeling heavy as I name upon all residents of our neighborhood to indicate that love that Dr. King stated can drive out darkness wherever it exists,” Cantrell stated. “Proper now darkness does exist in our neighborhood, in our neighborhoods, and all through our metropolis.”

She stated it is not sufficient to place extra metropolis assets behind the hassle, or to go away it solely to the New Orleans Police Division, however that atypical residents must assist in each fixing crimes and stopping violence.

Cantrell and several other Metropolis Council members additionally evoked MLK in calling for continued work on social justice and voting rights on the ceremony, which was held on the memorial to King at South Claiborne Avenue, on the junction with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Cantrell famous specifically the a number of dozen individuals who held placards on the ceremony in assist of the residents of the Gordon Plaza subdivision, who’ve been pushing for metropolis funding to maneuver them from the previous poisonous landfill web site.

Metropolis Council President Helena Moreno referenced the difficulties Democrats are having getting a nationwide voting rights legislation handed to counteract restrictive measures happening in Republican statehouses throughout the nation. 

“It’s so essential that we be certain that everybody has the chance to vote, everybody,” Moreno stated. “We see what is going on in Washington D.C. and what I say is don’t be discouraged. We simply must push tougher.”

There was no march previous the wreath-laying this 12 months and the gathering was sparsely attended because the surge within the omicron coronavirus variant has truncated occasions to mark the vacation.

Jefferson Parish holds a yearly banquet in honor of the nationwide vacation, and college teams and residents carried banners and placards throughout the procession to downtown Covington on the north shore.

A serious theme of the afternoon was the spate of current carjackings, armed robberies and homicides, which have spiked throughout the pandemic and plagued communities of colour.

NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, in a separate press convention after the wreath laying, famous that suspects believed to have been concerned within the weekend’s spree of carjackings — particularly 5 that occurred across the Tulane and Loyola universities’ Uptown campuses — had been apprehended.

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He stated the investigation into the weekend’s surge of violent automobile robberies — 11 from Friday by Sunday, in accordance with NOPD experiences — was carried out by the Violent Crime Abatement Investigation Group, the unit fashioned simply over a 12 months in the past that features the FBI and Louisiana State Police to trace repeat violent offenders.

However he stated a lenient felony justice system and legal guidelines decriminalizing low-level crimes have hampered the NOPD’s capability to cope with the crime spike.

“We are able to make all the arrests we wish however till the again portion of this felony justice system does its half in insuring accountability and insuring penalties to their actions, we will proceed to spin our wheels,” Ferguson stated.

“We’ll proceed to make the arrests however it does not imply a factor if there aren’t any penalties to their actions,” he added.

Moreno issued a press launch after the ceremony confirming that Chief Ferguson will deal with a particular council assembly known as this Thursday, Jan. 20, to handle the crime spike. She stated District Lawyer Jason Williams and unnamed felony and juvenile courtroom judges will deal with the council on Monday, Jan. 24.

“I do not imagine that the ‘lock-up everybody’ strategy is efficient, however these committing egregious violent crimes should be caught and held accountable,” Moreno stated in a press launch.

Newly-elected Metropolis Council Members on the occasion who echoed the decision for motion on crime included Lesli Harris, JP Morrell, Eugene Inexperienced, Freddie King III, and Oliver Thomas.

Williams has since taking workplace offloaded lots of of instances that he described as “fats” and “bloat,” however he and the NOPD have said they were putting together a cooperation plan to supply a “laser focus” on violent crimes within the metropolis.

Ferguson famous that carjacking was up only one% in 2021 till the sudden surge in December and January.

Nonetheless, the rise final 12 months was on prime of a surge within the first 12 months of the pandemic that noticed carjacking spike 64.4%, murders up 31.6%, and auto thefts up 21.4%.

The homicide charge final 12 months was the highest it has been since before Hurricane Katrina. Among the many most heartbreaking had been these of greater than a dozen youngsters, together with most just lately 12-year-old Derrick Money and 7-year-old Dillan Burton. They attended the identical college, Thurgood Marshall, and had been murdered within 10 days of each other in separate incidents.

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