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New Orleans DA says Mardi Gras weapons charges should not have been dismissed, plans 'extensive internal review'

4 weeks 19 hours 2 minutes ago Thursday, February 23 2023 Feb 23, 2023 February 23, 2023 5:10 PM February 23, 2023 in News
Source: WWL-TV
More than 40 weapons seized on Bourbon Street (photo via Louisiana State Police)

NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans district attorney says he's calling for an "extensive" internal review of why more than a dozen people had their charges dropped after they were caught illegally carrying weapons around the city during Mardi Gras. 

The statement from the District Attorney Jason Williams pins the decision to drop charges in at least 15 cases on an assistant DA who "deviated" from the office's typical practices. 

LSU football player Malik Nabers, 19, was among those who had their charges dropped after he was caught with a handgun on Bourbon Street on Monday night. 

Louisiana State Police said Thursday the more than 100 state troopers working the French Quarter took 44 guns off people among the crowd of revelers. The New Orleans Police Department said earlier this week that a total of 156 guns were seized on and around Mardi Gras parade routes. 

Read the full statement from the DA's office below. 

“Taking guns off the street through aggressive enforcement and prosecution under existing gun laws is a top priority of our office. Prior to Mardi Gras, the DA met with our law enforcement partners at LSP and NOPD to reaffirm our joint support for this work.

The DA’s Office is committed to a thorough screening process for each charge delivered from law enforcement, the Assistant DA assigned to the initial review of these cases during first appearances deviated from our standard practice. We communicated this to our law enforcement partners and reaffirmed our shared commitment to the importance of prosecuting gun crimes to abate violence in our streets.

The Assistant DA’s strategic decision to refuse these misdemeanors in exchange for forfeiture of the weapons at first appearance was improper and does not represent our office policy or procedure. DA Williams has ordered an extensive internal review of each matter brought before magistrate court on this date, as well as appropriate remedial measures to prevent similar unauthorized activity in the future. This instance will otherwise be handled as an internal personnel matter.

DA Williams remains resolute in his commitment to seek justice for the people of this city and extends his sincere gratitude to all the men and women in law enforcement, locally and from afar, who worked tirelessly this past week, risking their own safety, to ensure a swift response to potential threats this Mardi Gras season."

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