NEW ORLEANS, (UPI) — A video showing inmates at a New Orleans jail drinking beer, shooting dice and injecting heroin has prompted the city’s mayor to call for federal assistance.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he wants the federal government to oust Sheriff Marlin Gusman and take over the city jail, The (New Orleans) Times Picayune reported.
“In light of this disturbing evidence, we again request the Department of Justice join us in immediately putting a federal receiver in place to manage the jail,”Landrieu said. “It is now clearer than ever that the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office is not keeping the prison secure and our city safe.”
The video, played in court Tuesday, is the most dramatic salvo in a legal battle focused on the constitutionality of conditions at Orleans Parish Prison.
It will be up to U.S. District Judge Lance Africk to decide whether to saddle New Orleans with the $17 million to $22 million annual cost of complying with a federally mandated consent decree to reform operations at the jail.