2 suspects in viral stunt driving videos arrested; 3 remain at-large
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two of five men at the center of an investigation into viral dangerous driving videos have been arrested, police say.
According to the New Orleans Police Department, Eduardo Gomez, 26, of New Orleans and an unidentified 17-year-old from Denham Springs surrendered to authorities on Fri., June 17.
Police are still looking for Tyler McKinney, of New Orleans, a 17-year-old from Metairie, and a 16-year-old from Kenner.
Warrants were obtained for their arrest after videos began circulating online of drivers doing donuts at the intersection of St. Claude and St. Roch on Sun., June 5.
In the video, people are seen kicking and jumping on a police unit.
The videos drew outrage from community leaders and residents of New Orleans.
“There’s no way in hell we should allow anyone to come to our city and rule our city the way they did,” Ferguson said. “The disrespect was real and the response is going to be very real.”
Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a statement calling the stunts “reckless criminal behavior,” a “threat to public safety,” and “completely unacceptable.”
“To the knuckleheads that had AK-47s ′s and other guns on social media in District B, the Feds are looking at those photos and they’re coming after you,” Councilmember Lesli Harris said.
New Orleans council members voted to allow the city attorney to issue subpoenas to social media platforms to find out who’s promoting the “pop-up” demonstrations.
“To the guys who are involved with this, at the end of the day, we’re doing this for your protection, because people have been injured. Also, you are in your on video and law enforcement sees those videos and you almost give them no choice but to have to use them. We want to protect you and innocent citizens,” Councilmember Eugene Greene said.
These dangerous driving displays have been an increasing concern over the past couple of months.
In early May, a man was arrested after being caught on camera doing donuts dangerously close to an NOPD unit.
Another instance of stunt driving was caught on camera at a busy intersection in the Lower Garden District.
“Just tons of people pulled over, just traffic all backed up and there were just, I saw probably at least five or six different cars, like a white truck, a white Corvette, red Mustang, just taking their turns and they had people hanging out on the passenger side,” Misty Guzman said.
NOPD was able to track down and arrest the alleged driver in that incident, Shon Claiborne, 24, on a charge of reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
A manpower crunch at NOPD, coupled with and exacerbated by the red tape surrounding the federal consent decree, leaves officers with their hands tied in some cases.
“It was evident they were armed and wanted to do dangerous things around a police car. That shows they have no fear of consequences,” said Michael Glasser, head of the Police Association of New Orleans. “Not only are we in jeopardy, but the public is in jeopardy. If we can’t protect ourselves, how do we protect them?”
Under the Consent Decree, NOPD officers are not authorized to pursue someone who presents no imminent threat of death or serious injury.
“[The consent decree] takes time and energy away from the actual crime itself,” said Glasser. “It’s labor-intensive and we have no labor.”
More: Manpower crunch and consent decree red tape put responding officers in danger, PANO says
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