The contention in the headline is anything but a surprise, as Susan Hutson ran on an explicitly pro-criminal agenda last year when she beat longtime Orleans Parish criminal sheriff Marlin Gusman with the help of several Hard Left advocacy groups. But it’s still quite notable to see Hutson’s tune remain the same in the middle of a massive crime wave gripping the city.
More than two months before her May 2 inauguration, Orleans Parish Sheriff-elect Susan Hutson is starting to flex her newfound political muscles. The former independent monitor for the New Orleans Police Department, Hutson was a mild-mannered presence in helping ensure the city’s force was reshaped amid an outcry over police violence a decade ago.
But her defeat of Sheriff Marlin Gusman on Dec. 11 puts her front and center in some of the biggest law enforcement and criminal justice issues in New Orleans. In an interview Tuesday to discuss her transition and plans for the Sheriff’s Office, she vowed to speak loudly as sheriff, and she is already weighing in on a controversial jail expansion and funding from City Hall.
”This system is broken, as we can see. We all have to work together, and we have to be vocal about working together to make changes,” Hutson said. ”As we move along, I’m going to be more vocal.”
New Orleans has a whole bunch of use-it-or-lose-it money from FEMA available to build a “special-needs” jail, but Hutson thinks the facility wouldn’t be built before the August 2023 deadline it would have to finish by. And she’s said all along she can renovate current facilities and save money.
That sounds like fiscal conservatism, but it isn’t that. Hutson, like all of the other Soros-funded DA and sheriff candidates we’ve seen worm their way into office in big Democrat cities around the country, is about springing as many criminals imprisoned thanks to the “systemic racism” of America as they can. Refusing to increase the capacity of the Orleans Parish Prison complex amid a crime wave is a good way to do that passively.
But there’s a problem. Carjackings and murders are so out of control in New Orleans that the same voters who pulled a lever in favor of pro-criminal politicians like DA Jason Williams, Hutson and mayor LaToya Cantrell are screaming for somebody to do something. All of a sudden Williams has reversed course and is now demanding huge numbers for bail in criminal arraignments, the City Council wants to bring back the New Orleans Police Department’s anti-gang squad and Cantrell says she wants to bring back police surveillance after essentially ending it at the end of 2020.
Which means Hutson is going to be the outlier when she starts turning inmates loose because her jail is too crowded for lack of capacity that could have been increased.
Does she get that? Not really.
In tandem, the number of people locked up at the jail ticked up by dozens, a trend threatening to undermine Hutson’s argument that she can use renovated space in the main jail, instead of a new building, to house inmates with severe health problems.
Hutson said she’s sticking to her ideals – and worries about a rush toward harsh policies.
”There’s not enough room in the jail to arrest our way out of this problem. So we have to hit those root causes of crime. And we know what they are,” Hutson said.
The upshot of this is that Orleans sheriff deputies who worked for Gusman are saying, in effect, “F(orget) This” and quitting. Some 17 of them have turned in their badges since Hutson’s election, and she doesn’t even take office until May. That number could well grow.
Gusman is still in charge of hiring new deputies. How much effort do you think he’s going to expend on that? Unless it’s to stock the office with loyalists who’ll sabotage Hutson (which might well be a good thing).
It all points to a cascade of failure on the way, and a breakdown in the criminal justice system even more pronounced than what we’ve already seen in New Orleans.
The next governor of Louisiana could well find himself forced to impose the State Police on the city to promote law and order. The people entrusted with that task currently are more interested in chaos.