This just in via Karen Gadbois…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW ORLEANS CITIZENS TAKE TO THE STREETS TO DEMAND
THE RESIGNATION OF DISTRICT ATTORNEY EDDIE JORDAN
New Orleans citizens, fed up with the resurgence of violent crime in their city, will stage a protest in front of the Cabildo on Jackson Square on Monday, July 16 at 6 a.m. to demand the resignation of District Attorney Eddie Jordan.
Although every component of the city’s criminal justice system has been in disarray since Hurricane Katrina, the district attorney’s office is widely seen as the biggest obstacle to reform because of its pattern of not pursuing charges.
In just the past two weeks, the D.A.’s office has dropped murder charges against suspects in two high-profile murder cases: that of Dinerral Shavers, gunned down in his car, and last summer’s quintuple murder in Central City. In both cases, the D.A.’s office cited lack of witnesses as the reason for the dismissals. However, in the Shavers case, there were other witnesses and evidence, inexplicably not used; and in the Central City murders, New Orleans police were able to locate the supposedly un-findable witness within a matter of hours of learning about the dismissal.
These incidents come on the heels of a protest march in January, in which 5000 New Orleanians took to the streets to demand that city officials address the rampant violence that had taken over the city. Notably, although mayor Ray Nagin and Superintendent of Police Warren Riley attended, Mr. Jordan did not. At that time, Mr. Jordan claimed a 92% conviction rate, although he declined to provide statistics on the number of cases he chooses not to pursue, raising questions as to the validity of the 92% figure he provided.
In the past, Mr. Jordan has shown disdain for anyone questioning the actions of his agency. Most notably, he stormed out of an Nightline interview with ABC’s Brian Ross when Ross pressed him about whether his office had performed as it should.
It appears that Mr. Jordan has lost the confidence not only of the citizenry, but of his fellow politicians as well. Mayor Nagin released a statement last week condemning the D.A.’s office for its “a disturbing pattern in which the DA dismisses charges without securing assistance from NOPD or any other entity in the criminal justice system.” Councilwoman Shelley Midura has publicly called for Mr. Jordan’s resignation, saying, “I no longer believe you have the consent and support from the public required to perform your duties adequately.”
Note: ABC News/Good Morning America is conducting a “town hall meeting” with Senator John Edwards. The town hall will take place on Monday, July 16th and hosted live by Diane Sawyer in the Cabildo in the French Quarter from 6:00am to 8:00am Central Time.
Update: The organizers add:
We hope that you’ll participate in this peaceful demonstration. Those interested should be in front of the Cabildo at 5:30 a.m. on Monday (to catch the live broadcast of Good Morning America). We ask that you bring signs and wear something white. For further information, please email [email protected] And please encourage your friends to attend!