Update, 2:35: The city, through its Nola Ready alert system, has released the victim’s criminal record.
By Karen Gadbois, The Lens staff writer |
In what appears to be a departure from the recent New Orleans Police Department practice of releasing criminal records of homicide victims, the department has not released the arrest record of the Good Samaritan killed in an Algiers carjacking Wednesday.
Superintendent Ronal Serpas has been widely criticized for releasing the records of victims, in some cases citing arrests, but not convictions, from more than 10 years ago. Critics say the practice tends to blame the victim, but Serpas said there’s a connection that shouldn’t be ignored between a homicide victim and his or her criminal past.
Last week, City Council members Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Susan Guidry complained about the practice at a committee meeting, but Serpas defended the action, saying it has the community talking and thinking.
When The Lens asked about the silence regarding the arrests of Henry “Mike” Ainsworth for marijuana possession in 2000 and 2006, NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden said the department plans to issue a release later today releasing the information.
She said the department intends to continue releasing criminal records of victims of crime.
She said the department didn’t release the information sooner because it wanted to focus on getting out the composite sketch of the suspect as soon as possible. Nonetheless, neither Serpas, Mayor Mitch Landrieu nor Criminal Justice Commissioner James Carter mentioned Ainsworth’s arrests during a news conference Wednesday, when the killing was discussed.
Ainsworth pleaded guilty in November 2006 to third-offense marijuana possession.
Ainsworth was the victim of a high profile car-jacking incident early in the morning as he dropped his children off at an Algiers Point school. Ainsworth stepped in to help a woman who was the victim of a carjacking and was shot and killed by the would-be carjacker, who fled and is still being sought.