DA says BRAVE funding controversy is distraction from success in crime reduction

DA says BRAVE funding controversy is distraction from success in crime reduction
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Controversy surrounding contracts for the federally funded BRAVE program is a distraction from the true success of the program, District Attorney Hillar Moore III said in a statement released Wednesday.

"For the past weeks, my phone has rung constantly with questions from the media concerning BRAVE contracts," he said. "To each of these calls, I have responded that I know very little about the details of BRAVE contracts as those financial matters have always been handled by the grant's fiscal agent, the Office of the Mayor-President. As one of the co-signers to the BRAVE grant, I welcome those calling for investigations into BRAVE spending. I firmly support each citizen's right to review how their funds are being spent. I am very concerned, however, that within the ringing of alarms and raising of concerns that some very significant things are being overlooked: BRAVE has been a success as lives have been saved and crime has been reduced."

All of the questions started with a shocking statement made by local community activist Arthur Reed, a.k.a. Silky Slim during a recent Metro Council meeting. When asking for an update regarding the Alton Sterling shooting investigation, Reed said  "justice came when Gavin Long came." He was referring to the man who shot and killed three law enforcement officers and wounded three others in July 2016.

The following day Mayor Broome publicly reprimanded Reed for his statement. However, that also brought to light a contract between the city and Reed that was signed on June 6, 2017.

The contract was terminated after WAFB filed a public records request seeking a copy of the contract.

From there, more questions surfaced regarding other questionable contracts. It caught the attention of Sen. John Kennedy and the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office.

RELATED: Sen. Kennedy asks BR mayor for explanation on BRAVE funds following 9NEWS Investigative reports

But the true question is the future of the program, Moore says. The remainder of his full statement is listed below.

Yes, our federal BRAVE grants are ending. This is something that has always been known and planned for. Sustainability has been our obligation under the federal grant since the first day we applied for the grant. I am now asking this parish to join me in finding ways to sustain what has truly been a remarkable and lives changing program.

An item is on Wednesday's Metro council agenda to get an update from Mayor Broome on funds related to the program. We will livestream the meeting in its entirety on the WAFB Facebook page.

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