Jul 10, 2014|
Angela talks to District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro about reducing gun violence in New Orleans
We're discussing the hot topics of the day with co-host of First Take, Todd Menesses.
Angela discusses the shooting in Lafayette and says farewell to WWL as she hands her timeslot off to Scoot.
What's trending in sports, news, and entertainment?
Angela talks with WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore and Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the city's backlog of uninvestigated rape cases.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
As we have said many times in this program are going to have to attack the horrendous. And growing numbers shootings on many fronts. Yes we need more police yes more help for kids growing up in rough conditions with little guidance. But district attorney Leon -- -- believes there is something else we can do. Stricter enforcement of gun law violations. He is with us for the next hour to talk about his thoughts on what needs to be done. And we want you to be part of this conversation so please give us a call 260187. Very busy man means a lot that -- spend the hour with us. I've often said. Too often where is the outrage and now home and actually hearing outrage after the suburban street thing and an even the other day. Two teenagers and a three year old shot this while shooting before we get into what many thought to have honest I would like for you. What do you think is changing. Where it isn't just. Random it's this this wild west. Wild shooting what isn't. Well first of all thank you -- for having us this afternoon I certainly appreciate this opportunity. I think he is summed it up pretty well when you said this wild west mentality. I guess when people think of the wild west they think of people going out in the middle of the street. And settling their disputes with with and I'm I'm a duels so to speak a shoot out. And I think that's what we're seeing a lot of you know I think back. I think back to my younger days I think back twenty or thirty years ago. When individuals would have a dispute or disagreement. You might see two men had two guys sort of pushing and shoving on each other and they might even throw a punch at two and usually it would end right there. You just not seeing that today today it's and again it can be something as stupid as. Well he gave me a dirty look in one case we heard with a guy did not like the way he was looking -- weather was a dirty look or not. People get into an argument and the way they wanna settle the dispute now -- I wanna kill ya I wanna I wanna shoot -- and get my gun and I'm going to issue too and I'm gonna resolve this thing. That is a a very very sand. Mentality it's a very say -- comment. On us as a society when that's what we have sort of -- or resorted to put this in ten years ago even it wasn't like this. Well you know you know you look back at some of the numbers some of them the homicide number certainly week. We had a number of homicides in the city of no won't you look back ten years ago show -- hand. We've had our crime problems in the city especially with violent crime. You know I I made a statement the other day I know you you gonna talk about I'm not trying to jump into it too early but certainly I. Think that one of the things. That woods help address this issue if there work stricter laws with regard to those people who or illegally carrying guns. You know we -- you sort twice on urban street within the last two weeks on Bergen street that the most one of the most famous streets and the whole world. We saw it twice in the last what two weeks people who were shot as a result of individuals again. Firing guns people were struck as a result of that you know one woman lost her life. Another seriously injured so certainly I do think we have to be more effective I think we have to be more aggressive. About getting the illegal guns off the streets of this city but. Norman Robinson who just left who was not sing beautifully how he believes so strongly in the right to difference to stop and frisk. And have we lost that. No I mean and that's that's a beautiful laws have been the laws have not changed in other words if a police officer sees someone. That he believes is engaging in some. Illegal conduct illegal. Action or if he believes. The person is about to do something wrong belong gives him the right to go up to that individual and stop him. He has the right to ask -- certain questions. -- -- you know would -- to your name. Tell me what what's going on what give me an accounting of your actions and if the officer believes. And it doesn't have to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt if the officer believes that that individual is in possession of a firearm. He has the right to pat him down for his personal safety and the safety of others so the stop and frisk laws or available. In the state of Louisiana they have been available for many many years and it is a tool certainly that law enforcement uses. I know the concern that many people have about that law is that. You certainly don't want the offices going up to each and every person on the street and patting them down maybe because they don't like the way they look. And the law is designed to protect against that that unreasonable search. But but again keep in mind if the officer believes -- he sees and he can articulate naturally where these these. Issues come to come to bear so to speak as Wendy if the officer pat someone down. Recovers something from him that is he legal like a gun or like narcotics then when they are in court they simply have to be able to justify. There stopping of that person and again you have the right to stopping -- if you believe he has committed a crime is in the process of committing a crime or you have evidence to. Indicate to him the opposite that he will commit a crime he has a right to go up -- him. Ask him his name and address an accounting of his actions what are you doing what's this all about. And again as I said the law gives him that right tip. Pat the individual down the stop in -- so to speak. If he believes he is in possession of a far. I I think that's -- I'm I'm gonna take this out of context and doing some interviews with panel in the paternal or place over a period of time I've just gotten a sense. From those organizations that they feel. Maybe a little this is a wrong word but almost emasculated and that's unfair to the great women -- police -- but. That they don't that they will be challenged so much to their uncomfortable. Doing that and -- at something over. Well what -- you know and from our perspective we certainly encourage the police listened. I want a police officer who is suspicious that's who we pay them for we give the officers a great deal of authority. In our community not only do we allow them to carry had gone and we put the -- on their own their -- that gives them a great deal of authority. I certainly want them to use that authority and they as we want them to use it properly we want them to use it legally and constitutionally. And the constitution does afford them an opportunity to go after the bad guys and go after the bad guys aggressively and effectively. You know I know there's been a great and and you mentioned it at the top of the show there's been a great deal of concern about maybe the lack of officers not necessarily having the manpower. At the right places certainly when we need them. But I I can't point to the laws as saying that the laws have in any way a restricted the actions of the officers in encountering. What they believe is a criminal. On the streets as far as preventing them from going after that person in going after him aggressively certainly they bring those cases to us in our office. We're gonna except those cases if if we have a basis for accepting them and we're going to defend their actions in the court. How will say that we have been very successful. In our work. In our efforts in win if evidence is thrown out a by a judge in the district but we have been very successful in the court of appeal and in the Supreme Court. In getting back that evidence so we can continue with the prosecution. So certainly it is about a you know it's just about. Keeping the officers engage we certainly encourage them. And we work with them we were very very closely with them soak in if they ever have questions on issues quite frequently we will get calls from members of the police department. When they're in the process of of preparing search warrants are preparing arrest warrants for individuals. Just exactly what -- they do what you know what information do they need we try to work very closely with them. So that when -- cases made it this the best case possible especially. If we're talking about taking drugs off the streets and we talking about taking guns off the streets -- have you had an opportunity to -- to watch the various tapes of the arbitration thing. Well as you know I I I think as you all know there that is still an on going investigation is difficult for me to comment on a lot of that. I do know this there have. They're there there has been -- tremendous amount of information that has been given to the police. There have been a number of witnesses that the police have interviewed in connection with the shooting. There has also been additional there has there had been tapes that they have looked at. But I think it's also important to note that information has also been coming in since some of the initial. In Simpson -- this investigation began. They've had more tapes a lot more hours of of of footage that they are that they are reviewing there are a number of additional witnesses that they have to speak with. So this is something that is continuing. To evolve we are learning more and more about that because of some of the witnesses were coming forward. And our our opportunity to sort of review the to review the tapes. We're gonna have to take a break the mummy come back we're gonna talk about why you're really here and some of your thoughts on our gun laws. Stay with this I'm Angela on WW well. We're back with -- Leon Tennessee district attorney for new. -- looking at his own. -- -- sort of the Methodist divorcing him. We've got so specifically what are your thoughts while I certainly as a as I said a little early I think that it should be. A felony offense for someone who is illegally carrying a gun on the streets of the city of New Orleans. The question is should that be a mandatory jail sentence or not. Is again that's I'm I'm not quite sure about how I feel I don't know so we have an opinion one way or the other on that but I certainly think it should be a felony offense. To carry a gun on the streets of this city what is it right now. Right now if you if you illegally in possession and has to be concealed on your person. It's a misdemeanor charge it to zero to six months charged -- no pain and it's interesting that you say that because you know when a we during this mayor's administration. We sat down and we talked to him about some of the problems we were having with guns. The mayor came out with a police chief and made a recommendation Tuesday judges in the criminal court that if any want. Comes into the court and there caught possessing a gun. We would recommend I would suggest to use that the bond be set -- no less than 30000 dollars. In order to make that person accountable for that his actions on the street don't make it easy for him to get in and out of the out of jail. We did not have a great deal of success and that you know the judges resisted that believing that look this is our prerogative we set the bond based upon the individual and has his or her circumstances. But he and I believe it's it is it is such a a it's an epidemic I think it's a it's a crisis situation we have in the city of new Wallace. I don't think people really realize you know I know we know about the murders I think everyone's certainly understand how many murders will have in the city -- -- -- it that's a number that we we're always reminded up. But I think people don't really recognize how many people or shot that do not die. I think the number is it's I think been one year French was over 500 people. Thank you can attribute the air. Who living -- I think one of two things and I'm not trying to sound trite here but either that aim of the person who shot was not that good. Or the medical attention that they receive at the university hospital and before Katrina the charity hospital. Is outstanding I mean if you get shot if you get shot trauma on exactly -- you hope you are brought to university hospital because you have an excellent chance of them saving your life. But again think about it over 500 people in this city in the course of the year may be shot may be struck with bullets and it. An analyst let's look at just another statistic how many calls to the police received during the course of the year. Where they are brought to a particular neighborhood and it's a call of shots fired. No one may be no one may be murdered as a result of that no win may even be struck by the -- but simply shots are fired. During the course of the I have to believe they get and then again. I'm estimating somewhere in the neighbor it's got to -- over a thousand calls of where they get a -- think about the guns in the presence of gardens. I'm willing to -- choose these are not the law abiding citizens who have permits for the guns who have. Who are -- keeping the guns in their home for their for the protection of themselves and their family. These are the guys who shouldn't be in possession of -- gone in the first place who are out there. I'm looking to do something bad or wrong in the gun is simply going to help facilitate them to two to accomplish that. So again I think that it's it's it's certainly time in this community where we say. Again with regard to carrying a gun you carry a gun. On the streets of the city of New Orleans. Your arrested by the police here charged with a felony offense and there are some there should be some adverse consequences as a result of that and then let the judge decides. Whether or not based on the circumstances of that person carrying the gun. Whether he -- she deserves some consideration. Or should be put in jail I think it's that serious and I think that you know hopefully by doing that. We can we can again allow the police to. Being a little bit more aggressive because now they're talking about a felony charge hopefully some people -- Put the guns away I know there are naysayers say that won't happen the bad guys are always gonna. Carry the guns regardless of the consequences. But again I think it is a tool it is something that the police can now use to help go after what is what he's turned into the violent offender. Well -- I don't think that these criminals are -- number one I think that if they start hearing that -- The guide on the street just got picked up with a felony and he. He's in trouble enough of that might send a signal. Yes bad guys will always have guns at tragically it's really what you just said at the very beginning in the old days you just punch somebody out. I had a fist fight now everybody has this gone. And an. Look what happened on urban street -- -- it was not to know about the investigation it was. I'm just very curious in looking at those films that have run on newscasts and and they keep coming in different angles different shots. If a policeman had been standing there prior to the shooting would there have been anything to indicate that these two guys we're gonna start shooting. -- was there any behavior that they could noted. I think. You know from what I understand I think the presence of the police this occurs at an intersection. Or an under urban street I think the presence of the police sometimes would prevent. -- So certainly I would think had to -- police officer or two. -- at that particular intersection just prior to the shooting I think there is a good chance the shooting would not have -- And I believe that and that you know and again keeping and know that this event gets a great deal of attention because it happens on urban street. But again as a city we should we the how rage no it shouldn't have taken the Bergen street incident to cause this community should be outraged. Let's look at let's look at Mother's Day just slashed -- last year not the issue but the year before that you had a shooting during a parade. We can point to cases where children. Two young children going on -- porch birthday party young child at a birthday party a baby in the core is caught between the crossfire of two criminal shooting it out and the baby. Our infant gets struck with the bullet and dies as a and we how many innocent people. That we have seen in -- that there is not necessarily on urban street you know uptown downtown lower ninth yes we've seen a lot of people who have been hurt as a result of gun violence. Where I know that this is it because it's in Bergen street is so important to this community it gets a great deal of attention. But essentially what what you know what at the end of the day what we may have seen on urban street is simply. I -- I shoot out between. -- a dog one dog and another -- that could have happened any place in the city of New Orleans. Unfortunately someone died a number of people were struck by bullets. I understand you know six of the ten people who were struck were people who did not live. In this state of Louisiana. That's the that is the thing that is so very very sick horrible and the irony that the two shooters didn't hit each other. That's and that's correct that's correct we're gonna take another break we've got to go to the newsroom but stay with us as we continue our top with the district attorney. And I see you that you called Chris and Craig will get to you thanks so much we'll be right back. We're joined by district attorney Leon -- zero point let me go to our callers so. -- Hello Craig. Obama's I wanted to do you know it's not just New Orleans the problem over the fourth of July weekend in Chicago. I think eighties helping people were sharp yes and just recently to payers so in Houston there were four children -- -- six people killed who -- ensuring. There's a problem. In Louisiana. -- especially in the rural areas. People all been go to police department. And they away at the police department's annual rendered go to -- to ship goods stolen -- -- applied -- guard. I think you know I would ever I just temperatures did about you know editor of felony offense and I wish there were some programmers something in place to where people could be educated about -- registered -- the proper way to do it. Don't think so people. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Do not want -- -- all. And ever go to register their name they're very educated on how to do it. Cook your particular good or bad you know if something happened they would never -- any of older older I don't history. I'm not I guess we're well I'm not necessarily proposing. That. Certainly the person I'm talking about possessing illegal guns. Certainly I've gone it's against the law right now in Louisiana to put to be in possession of a gun. That is a stolen gun that's that's a violation it just -- this there is a specific statute on that. There is also a specific statute on possessing a gun if for instance it cannot be trees where the serial numbers may be obliterated -- marked out that too is a felony offense. Number what I'm talking about is an individual who carries had gone. On the streets. Of the city of new loans even if the gun is register now again if it's a stolen gun that's a different thing but if the -- were in fact registered. -- and and you you're not supposed to be in possession of that gun on the streets I I would still advocate that that should be a felony offense. There are more prepared there was more out there to educate people about. I agree with you and and you know the thing is I. Which -- about the ability of this I mean I don't know someone a book marked out serial number on the street. -- don't -- and you know. The only other point that I'd I'd like to making connection with that is you know the law right now he is that you came and a person does have the right to get a permit to carry a garden that's that's. That's something that is possible you normally in most of them in the rural parishes the sheriff would be the one that would issue that permit in the -- of -- won't she go to the police department. And again I have advocated that those people who wish to who. Wish to possess guns if if they if there isn't need to carry a gun. Are all on the street for -- for work or business or whatever reason. That you know that there be certainly some training that goes with that that they learn about firearms safety. That that particular person goes to the police department the police have an opportunity do a background check to make sure you're not giving that they've gone. To a convicted felon because certainly there are laws that prevent people who are convicted of certain felony offense is to not. Possess guns. For a period of ten years until they have completed any probation or jail sentence in connection with that it's not -- it's not a lifetime ban but there is a certain. Cleansing period that you cannot possess a gun during a certain period of time so. For those individuals who who don't feel a need to be in possession of a -- on the streets. You know there are ways in which this can be done. And I that's that's all I think that's important and then the the police do have and I aimed method whereby they are. They're aware that so and so is in possession of a gun and they may well be aware of that particular gone by by registering -- -- and knowing who that particular gun belongs to I just think the situation right now is so out of hand and it has been that way for some time. And what we're seeing is some very very bad result. Because of that. Thank you -- so much we'll take another break we'll be right back. Can't necessarily do have some callers. I'm gonna go to wanna move very quickly and then not because I do want him sort of restate what he wanted to talk about -- -- took the -- so David. So I cannot understand. Variety. People who get up and speak about there you right sure others to carry guns. If I wanna go on recorder I'm going to recorder or enjoyment shelter level I do believe that there's not one person. -- much truth to. It has really garner a nice for a weapon. It can harm you. We are producing out of our colleges and universities. I could indicate idiots who don't make up unless they're supposed to concentrate. Praised and and done out -- -- sales judge ordered about. But let's not Letterman on the streets which -- gone and that's simple. Well unfortunately it's America. And they're all kinds of laws that do allow them. You're -- -- that that's what this is about I think that you have a right to go out on the streets any street in this city and enjoy yourself with your family and friends and and you shouldn't have to worry about someone who might take out a gun and start shooting at you or anyone else I mean I I agree with that. Once again do you want. Would you like to see done right now it's a misdemeanor you're sang. Somebody who was caught with an illegal gun should be a felony that that's that's it very simply and again there are more consequences for someone. If he is arrested with eight felony charge rather than a misdemeanor charge. One of the first consequences is that your bond in all likelihood is going to be a higher bond then if you simply charged with a misdemeanor offense. Another consequences that as a result of receiving a higher bond that individual may have to spend some time in jail. Whereas with a misdemeanor charge he's not going to spend some time in jail. And I think it's important to note also that you know we said this with many of the violent cases. If I can and I exaggerate this a -- can keep some -- a violent offender off the streets. And I get I get I exact or -- -- fifteen minutes I can just keep him off the streets for fifteen minutes. I may well be saving somebody's life out there. And it's the same sort of concept with this felony misdemeanor if someone is in jail and he's he's charged with a felony offense. There is a greater chance that he won't get a jail sentence for that crime then if it is a misdemeanor charge. There is a chance that that threat that if he develops a record for carrying a gun that record will stay with him row and then if it's a misdemeanor offense. And again it is about as she set also -- and I think this is a good point you know week. We in criminal justice don't always look sometimes to harsher laws as being did -- But quite frankly if the word gets out then this would be something that would be new wouldn't be novel in the state of Louisiana. For us to make possession of a felt a possession of a firearm on the streets of this city for instance. A felony offense. Then someone may think very long and very horrid if they -- In possession of a Garnett they haven't gone in their home they may think very long very hard before they take it out put it in their pocket -- sought to walk the streets with it you know the law does give someone the right to keep a gun in your house I certainly accept such hauling -- in the constitution. What we're talking about is illegal possession of guns you don't have the right to take they had gone. Put it in your pocket they don't put it in your waist band start walking on the streets of the city with that gone unless you have authority to do that. That's what we're going after. And if someone in France it's when they if they are encountering someone recognized said you know may be in walking back to might call are walking back to my house to get the gun maybe they change their mind and they they decide maybe this is it worth that the consequences might that might not be worth enough I wish more people would think like that I know they don't in many cases. But it's it's simply about. Adding some layer of deterrence. To that individual to save lives and I think also just as important. It gives the police another tool it gives them something else in their arsenal to fight the violent criminal and you would have to change the law him. Two man from a misdemeanor to a fellow yes we will certainly we certainly prompt for what we can't do that right now but we have to wait till legislature goes -- -- so this is not something we can do this year. But this is something we will look very. -- -- -- And in the upcoming legislative session but and again and fifty I think we're all looking for answers to this it's escalated as you said it isn't just the deaths tragically. It's also the number shootings it's a number of calls the police get four shots fired. It's -- gun crazy and we're not talking about the law abiding citizens that's exactly right we're not finished stay with us we'll be right back.