May 17, 2023 - News

New Orleans mayor apologizes for comments about women murder victims

Photo illustration of LaToya Cantrell with lines radiating from her.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Mayor LaToya Cantrell apologized Wednesday for comments she made last week that seemed to blame women who have been killed recently in the city.

Catch up quick: Cantrell on Friday talked generally about a rash of shootings that have left five women dead over the past few weeks.

  • "What I will say is none of these acts are random at all. And what we have to understand that women also play a role in violent activity in our city," she said.
  • Family members of at least one of the female victims, Ja'Diamond Jones, took offense to the mayor's comments, WDSU reported.

What she's saying: Cantrell on Wednesday said her comments were "misconstrued."

  • She said she met with the families of the women to apologize, and they accepted her remorse.
  • "I'm a woman, and I'm a Black woman, and I'm part of this community as well, and I have a child as well — forgive me," she said at her weekly media update at City Hall.

The big picture: Cantrell said she was speaking from the "investigative standpoint" about violence against women and wasn't specifically talking about these cases, which remain under investigation.

  • "We're seeing again young women are increasingly associating themselves with people that are involved in illegal or criminal activity," she said. "Some women don't even know ... fully the extent and how deep these relationships go."
  • Domestic violence has played a role too, she said.
  • The shootings are not random, she said, and often the individuals know each other.

What's next: Nine people have been arrested in connection with recent homicides, NOPD interim Superintendent Michelle Woodfork announced Wednesday.

  • Among the arrests is a man accused in the killing of a 28-year-old mother on the Interstate 10 Service Road in New Orleans East.
  • "We will no longer allow you to gun down women and children in our streets," Woodfork said. "Thank you to the people who did call us, who did step up."
  • Crimestoppers is also increasing the reward to $5,000 for tips related to the shootings, with president Darlene Costanza adding, "There is no tolerance for shooting at a vehicle with children in the car."
  • If you have any information that can help, call 504-822-1111.

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