‘I feel like we might be insane:’ Reaction pours in after mayor’s presser on violent crime

Reaction is pouring in for Thursday's news conference on public safety in Baton Rouge.
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Reaction is pouring in for Thursday’s news conference on public safety in Baton Rouge.

Whether it be online with your comments on ways to solve crime, everyone either pointing fingers or looking for solutions on how to get this crime under control.

“I assure you that there is not a stone that’s not being unturned,” said Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul.

Emotions have been at an all-time high across the metro area following the recent uptick in shootings claiming innocent victims. Like 3-year-old Devin Page Jr. in April, and LSU senior Allie Rice last week.

“I know there may be some people who are a little afraid, there may be some people who have elevated concerns. I get that,” said East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

For some people, talk from top city officials is just not going to cut it.

“Do you think they’re doing enough to solve the murder of Allie Rice,” questioned WAFB’s Lester Duhe’.

“Based on the information that they shared today, I would say that they can do a much better job,” said Chez Ciccone, the managing partner of The Shed BBQ Baton Rouge.

It’s the place where Allison Rice worked, before she was shot and killed while waiting for a train to cross on Government Street.

“We need to all come together on this and catch the S.O.B.’s who did this. I mean this was a senseless execution,” said Ciccone.

He attended the news conference earlier at City Hall, then met privately with the mayor and the police chief.

“It (news conference) was a formality, you know I’m glad they came out and there were a number of people there. And I even told the mayor and the chief of police we need to come together as one unit and get this handled,” said Ciccone.

He says Allie has become everyone’s daughter, niece or sister. And people are rallying for the police to solve this case quickly.

“I pray they do. I pray they do, and if not, there will be an outcry from the city,” said Ciccone.

We’re told the mayor’s office asked many law enforcement partners and elected officials across the parish to join the news conference, to show a united front against stopping crime.

District 12 Metro Councilwoman Jennifer Racca chose not to attend.

“I think the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And I feel like we might be insane,” said Councilwoman Racca.

Racca says as the governing body of the city-parish, the Metro Council gets hundreds of emails about crime all the time.

But she says there’s little council members can actually do about it.

“But ultimately we have no power in the crime fighting sense. We have the power to have a conversation with the mayor, and we have the power to have a conversation with the police chief. But he’s a mayoral appointee, he answers and serves at the pleasure of the mayor,” said Racca. I support the mayor and the crime fighting efforts, and the stronger effort to fight crime. However, to say the Metro Council has any power over any of that, really isn’t a true statement.”

Racca says she will now push to form an oversight committee through the council, to get some ‘skin in the game’ when it comes to crime fighting.

Her vision is to bring a number of people to the table to help look for solutions.

“We have to do something. We can’t just sit by and do nothing. And this is the only way we can come up with, with the tools in our toolbox that we have,” she said.

She wants elected officials, people who have an established record of fighting crime, community leaders and business owners, to come together looking for some sort of resolution.

“I hope it’s a collaborative effort where we all work together and can actually talk about where our deficiencies are,” said Councilwoman Racca.

Mayor-President Broome says she refuses to give up hope that things can turn around in Baton Rouge.

“Even in the midst of the challenges that we’re having with public safety, I hear people every day who believe in Baton Rouge,” she said.

The folks over at The Shed BBQ are collecting reward money for the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for killing Allie Rice.

As of Thursday night, they have now raised $40,000.

If you have any information that can help investigators, call Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP.

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