Activists Call For New Orleans Sheriff's Resignation

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Some New Orleans pastors and an inmate advocacy group are demanding the resignation of Sheriff Marlin Gusman, citing continued violence at the jail he runs.

         Monday's news conference in front of the new jail building came days after a court-appointed jail monitor issued a report strongly critical of Gusman. And it was less than three weeks after an inmate's apparent suicide by hanging.

         The report said progress has stalled in efforts to implement jail reforms required in an agreement approved by a federal judge in 2013 to settle a lawsuit by inmates and the Justice Department.

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         "To be elected three times, and we're still at Square One, it's time to move on," said Norris Henderson, head of the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition and executive director of the group called Voice of the Ex-offender.

         The ministers, including Rev. Corey Watson, issued a statement ahead of the news conference saying they would no longer support a sheriff "who continues to mismanage our jail, and who seeks to add more beds to a jail that already warehouses too many of our community members."

         James Williams, a Gusman attorney, told New Orleans media that the sheriff "has no intention of resigning." Williams said jail conditions are greatly improved since last September's transfer of inmates to the new facility. And he said the latest monitor's report "is probably not reflective" of current jail conditions.

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         "Things aren't where they need to be," Williams acknowledged, "but they certainly aren't what they used to be."



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