NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – The NOPD’s new police chief said Tuesday that the department, with the help of state, federal and local authorities, has arrested some of the city’s most violent offenders.
“Many of the offenders arrested in the sweep were wanted for violent crimes, wanted for murder to rape to armed robbery. They’re now off the street and will face the consequences of their actions,” said NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson.
Included in the 45 people arrested is Derrick Groves. According to a recent news release from the Orleans Parish district attorney’s office, Groves is one of two men recently indicted by a grand jury. He’s accused of taking part in a mass shooting on Mardi Gras last year. He faces two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of two men, as well as three counts of attempted second-degree murder.
“We know that we have work to do, but the men and women of the NOPD and our partners are doing what it takes,” said New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell.
FOX 8 has learned that at least a dozen of those arrested in the recent roundup appear to already be out of jail. Police arrested Donel Bowman for aggravated assault with a firearm. Court documents show his bond was set at just $1,000, and it appears he’s out of jail and back on the street.
It’s the same story for Larissa Duckworth, who’s accused of aggravated battery. Court documents show her bond was also $1,000, and it appears that she, too, is out.
“To see a thousand dollar bond for individuals that the police department determined and classified as some of the more violent offenders in the City of New Orleans, that’s of concern. Because it says either bond wasn’t appropriately set or the police department didn’t identify a serious enough offender to arrest on this,” said Metropolitan Crime Commission President Rafael Goyeneche.
All of those arrested in the roundup appeared before a magistrate judge or commissioner who set their bond amount.
“So, if these offenders are being released on inappropriately low bond, it is undermining the efforts of the police department to protect and serve the people of the community. But I can’t comment on a specific case without knowing all of the details that were available to the judge at the time of bail setting,” Goyeneche said.
The police chief vows to continue to reduce murders this year after ending 2018 with the lowest number of murders since the 1970s. There have been nine murders so far this year compared to 17 at this same time last year.