According to police, the shooting was related to the notorious Central City gang, 3NG. Lee was affiliated with the gang, which is probably why he was targeted for death.
This area had been the scene of other violent shootings, including one involving infamous crime kingpin Telly Hankton. The 3NG gang has been operating for a number of years and has left its violent mark on the area. In 2011, the 3NG gang was implicated in the killing of a one year child in the Calliope housing development.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, then New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu formed “Nola for Life,” an organization dedicated to providing alternatives to violence for the youth of the city. Sadly, this initiative failed miserably, as did much of what the former Mayor did to supposedly fight crime.
Currently, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is 500 officers below full strength, thanks to Mitch Landrieu’s refusal to fund new recruitment classes in the first few years of his administration. In addition, he supported a measure to strip $600,000 from the District Attorney’s office, which has negatively impacted that important component of the criminal justice system.
The current Mayor, LaToya Cantrell, expressed her outrage after the shooting, but these outbursts are small comfort for the family members of the victims in this incident. Sadly, Mayor Cantrell did not make major changes in the NOPD when she took office in May. She retained Michael Harrison as Police Superintendent, even though his performance has been mediocre at best.
What is truly needed is a total commitment to fighting crime in New Orleans. The NOPD needs to be overhauled with new leadership and a massive new focus on recruitment. The District Attorney’s office needs to be fully funded. The liberal judges who are allowing these criminals to avoid prison need to be identified and sent packing by the voters.
Unfortunately, in a liberal city like New Orleans, law and order measures are considered either “racist” or draconian. The preference is for social programs like Midnight Basketball and “Nola for Life.”
Yet, the experience of the last eight years shows clearly that social programs are not the answer. The only way to provide local citizens with real public safety is to commit to vigorously enforce the laws and punish those who break them.
Instead of a smaller prison, we need a bigger one. Instead of trying to release prisoners, we need more criminals behind bars. A new, tougher mindset is needed; however, what has been displayed from Mayor Cantrell is just more of the same.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]