VIDEO: Onlookers jump on NOPD unit while drivers spin donuts in St. Roch
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - City officials are pledging a “more bold and brazen” approach to illegal stunt driving incidents around New Orleans.
The New Orleans Police Department held a press conference Monday after several videos were widely circulated on social media Sun., June 5. In the videos, drivers are seen burning out, spinning cars in donuts, driving at high rates of speed, and performing other maneuvers at different intersections across the city. Crowds of people watching the stunts blocked traffic at Downman Road and Chef Mentuer Highway, as well as St. Claude and St. Roch Avenues.
In at least one of the videos, people are seen jumping on an NOPD patrol car and taunting the officer.
In an afternoon press conference, NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said there were at least four of these “pop-up” car shows, and some appeared to be organized by people from outside of the city and drawing people from other states.
“There’s no way in hell we should allow anyone to come to our city and rule our city the way they (did) yesterday,” Ferguson said. “The disrespect was real and the response is going to be very real.”
Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a statement calling the stunts “reckless criminal behavior,” a “threat to public safety,” and “completely unacceptable.”
“These brazen actions have accelerated to a complete disregard and blatant disrespect for law enforcement. This ends now!” Cantrell said in a statement. “The dedicated women and men of the New Orleans Police Department have pledged their lives to protecting and keeping the public safe. We must show them the gratitude and respect they’ve earned. My administration stands with the New Orleans Police Department as they seek to increase criminal penalties associated with this type of behavior, and as they relentlessly pursue all perpetrators who place the public at risk.”
These dangerous driving displays have been an increasing concern over the past couple of months.
Earlier this month, a man was arrested after being caught on camera doing donuts dangerously close to an NOPD unit.
Another instance of stunt driving was caught on camera earlier this month at a busy intersection in the Lower Garden District.
Under the Consent Decree, NOPD officers are not authorized to pursue someone who presents no imminent threat of death or serious injury.
Councilman Eugene Green proposed an ordinance to amend the city code, making it illegal to perform stunts and donuts in a vehicle.
“This stunt of going around and around and tearing up tires and creating smoke and sometimes sitting in the windows is absolutely the most ridiculous thing that one could do with a car, but it’s a two to three thousand pound vehicle that is going to kill somebody,” Green said.
Green’s proposition is being amended and will go back before the Criminal Justice Committee on June 15. If approved, it would go before the full City Council next.
If the ordinance passes, the first offense would come with a $1,000 fine. The second time, a driver would have to forfeit their vehicle until they pay a $5,000 fine.
Misty Guzman echoed the sentiments of other Lower Garden District residents, saying she’s in need of relief.
“They were driving so fast down the street when they would finish it was like, God, if somebody was crossing the street or even an animal they would have annihilated them,” Guzman said. “Just no care for safety and I get it, they love to do their car tricks. I understand it. It is kind of fascinating to watch but not like that, not like that. Not there. There’s so many things that could have gone wrong.”
Green says officers may not be able to arrest people on the scene, but cameras throughout the city assist in tracking drivers down.
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