Watch Kennedy’s speech here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor on behalf of crime victims in New Orleans. He urged the city to allow the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) to use the legal and effective stop-and-frisk practice to prevent crime in the community.
“New Orleans is under attack. People there are being murdered. They are being shot. They are being raped. They are being stabbed. Their stuff is being stolen, and our quality of life is being degraded because of crime—because of crime, a cancer on our city,” said Kennedy.
“Statistically, it is more dangerous to be young and Black in New Orleans than it was to be a Marine in the Battle of Fallujah during the height of the insurgency in Iraq. Those are the numbers. Last year, my city had the highest murder rate in the country, twice the murder rate of Atlanta—twice! . . . Our murder rate was up 141 percent since 2019,” he continued.
Kennedy also pointed out that violent crime in the city is disproportionately harming minority communities. One in 14 African-American youths in New Orleans will be killed before the age of 35, while one in eight young African-American males will be shot. Although 33 percent of Louisianians are African-American, 70 percent of murder victims in New Orleans were African-American in 2022.
“Crime in New Orleans is affecting all of us in our city—residents and visitors, every income level, every part of our city—but no one is hit harder than our low-income communities. That’s true both in terms of public safety, and it’s also true economically,” Kennedy explained.
According to the Biden Justice Department, African Americans and Hispanic Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to be victims of violent crime. A 2013 poll found that two-thirds of African-American New Yorkers supported keeping stop and frisk in some form.
“Cops all over America stop and frisk suspects every single day, and they have for 50 years. And you know who endorses it? The United States Supreme Court,” said the senator.
“It is time to allow the men and women of the New Orleans Police Department to use stop and frisk without fear of losing their jobs,” he added.
While more than one million people live in the New Orleans metro area, the NOPD currently has only 913 officers on the force.
The Justice Department began investigating the NOPD in 2010 and entered into a consent decree in 2012. That consent decree does not prohibit the NOPD from employing stop-and-frisk crime prevention practices in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling in Terry v. Ohio. That ruling holds that police officers can stop and frisk individuals who they reasonably suspect are armed and involved in criminal activity.
Under mayors from both political parties, New York City implemented stop and frisk policing and lowered the murder rate from 31 per 100,000 to 3.3 per 100,000.
“I don’t want you to think that we have thousands of previously law-abiding New Orleanians turning to crime. . . . The problem we have is with career criminals, and they’re running rampant, and our cops are spread thin. . . . We need to allow our police officers to stop and frisk. It should be carefully monitored, it should be done legally, but it should be done. We have tried everything else—everything under the sun—to stop the extreme recidivists. Nothing has worked, and maybe this perfectly legal, very effective police policy—stop and frisk—which is used every day across America, will help,” Kennedy concluded.
Kennedy’s full remarks are here.