Morgan Lentes, WDSU

September 11, 2023

Alton Williams, a valet at the Ace Hotel, was shot and killed in December 2021.

A local mother is speaking out after news broke that New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has chosen who she would like to lead the city’s police department.

Cantrell announced Anne Kirkpatrick as her top choice Monday afternoon.

WDSU spoke with Clara Williams Zander after the announcement. Her son, Alton Williams, was shot and killed while working as a valet at the Ace Hotel in Dec. 2021.

She said her opinion of the New Orleans Police Department changed after the deadly shooting, adding a new police chief will have to earn her trust back.

“When you’re dealing with the police department, you’re supposed to be able to trust them,” Williams Zander said. “We need action. We don’t need a promise of what (you are) going to do. We want you to come out here and do it.”

Williams Zander also encouraged Kirkpatrick, who still has to be approved by the city council, to work with community groups that are already trying to combat crime in the city.

She said it is also important that police officers not forget the impact crime has on people and the way they live their lives.

“That’s my outlook,” Williams Zander said. “I would want them to put in more energy than what’s being put in now.”