Metro Council could consider higher fines for drag racing, car stunts this summer
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Videos of the illegal ‘pop up’ car shows across New Orleans are similar to what was seen in Baton Rouge after the Garth Brooks concert. And by all indications, the same groups could be involved.
Now there are new calls to raise the penalties for drag racing and car stunts in the Baton Rouge area in the future.
New Orleans police officers responded to four different car stunt scenes across their city Sunday, June 5. Videos even showed people jumping on a police unit as it was trying to make its way through the crowds.
NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson says the illegal car shows were organized from folks outside of his city.
And one flyer from a now-deleted Instagram account shows organizers in Baton Rouge planning a “BR 2 NOLA City Takeover.”
“Some of these individuals are not from New Orleans, but regardless if they’re from New Orleans or any other city, this should not be accepted,” said Chief Ferguson.
“Are we pushing them out to other areas because of our enforcement actions, I don’t know,” said Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, at Press Club on Monday.
The Baton Rouge area saw similar chaotic scenes at spots like College Drive the night of the Garth Brooks concert.
“And you have to have a zero-tolerance for this. You know, those incidents like that can escalate to further violent crime, and we’ve seen that, unfortunately,” said Chief Paul.
Since that night, Chief Paul says his officers have cracked down on the illegal stunts across the city. But now he says, more needs to be done.
“We scheduled a meeting with one of our city council members, I believe it’s councilman Gaudet, to look at increased penalties as it relates to that law,” said Chief Paul.
“And we agreed as a council that we would see if this (last year’s ordinance) had an effect, curbed behavior,” said Rowdy Gaudet, Metro Councilman for District 3.
Last year, the Metro Council unanimously increased penalties for first, second, and third offenses for drag racing and similar behavior, with the first offense costing $500 and $1000 after that.
“And I’ll share with you, that some of the feedback we’re getting from some of the folks that are out there trying to combat and curb this type of behavior, is that that’s not enough,” said Councilman Gaudet.
Gaudet says a task force created to look at these drag racing and car stunt policies will meet again soon to see if the fines should increase. They will also look at what other cities are doing to curb the behavior.
“Is there an impound process? Is there something that is going to make it so unattractive to participate in this kind of behavior, that it decreases in our community and frankly all other communities,” said Gaudet.
Gaudet believes this could be brought up again in front of the Metro Council either in July or August.
Meanwhile, Chief Paul says next year he will ask state lawmakers to increase penalties for those caught drag racing across the entire state of Louisiana.
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