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Councilmember Oliver Thomas Says It May Be Time for the National Guard
Comment comes after a weekend of pop-up stunt show "takeovers" across New Orleans.
An earlier version of this post included a social media video that I have been informed was not from New Orleans. That video has been removed from this post.
After a weekend of pop-up stunt show “takeovers” at several intersections across New Orleans, District E Councilmember Oliver Thomas told WDSU Wednesday that it may be time to bring in the National Guard, though he stressed it would be a last resort.
“Maybe it’s time to think about bringing in the National Guard,” Thomas said. When asked if that was a realistic idea, Thomas said it may be the only realistic option.
“If it’s realistic to save lives. If it’s realistic to stop these people from coming to take over and shoot up our town. If it’s realistic to stop them from disrespecting our municipal and criminal and civic laws. That may be the only realistic thing we can count on.”
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In one social media video of the weekend’s events, onlookers brandished guns, while in another, a man jumped up and down on an NOPD-marked police cruiser attempting to break up the informal stunt show.
According to Thomas, the New Orleans Police Department has told the City Council Criminal Justice Committee that only 14 officers are assigned to the area where the street stunts occurred. That’s not enough, Thomas said.
No arrests have been made in conjunction with the weekend’s events, though Mayor LaToya Cantrell has issued two statements in support of the NOPD’s efforts to locate the perpetrators.
"I appointed Commander Shaun Ferguson as chief of the New Orleans Police Department in January 2019," said Mayor Cantrell. "It is a decision that I unequivocally stand by today. Chief Ferguson continues to have my unwavering support and trust as do all the women and men of the New Orleans Police Department. I have full confidence in Chief Ferguson's leadership and in his plan to keep the residents of Orleans Parish safe. He is deserving of our respect and support."
Social media posts advertising the weekend “takeover” of New Orleans by Baton Rouge groups circulated on Instagram several days before the event; it’s unclear why NOPD or the Louisiana State Police were unable to stop the caravan of vehicles before they arrived.
In the case of tonight’s videos, it’s not clear whether those same groups are responsible.
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