Domestic violence a big issue in Caddo D.A. race

Domestic violence a big issue in Caddo D.A. race
Domestic Violence Political Forum held at the Southern Hills Business Association and hosted by Project Celebration, Inc.
Domestic Violence Political Forum held at the Southern Hills Business Association and hosted by Project Celebration, Inc.

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - With Louisiana ranked fourth in the number of women killed by men, all six candidates vying to become the next Caddo Parish District Attorney tackled some tough questions at a political forum Thursday afternoon.

One question asked the candidates what new idea or successful program elsewhere would you recommend to tackle domestic violence here at home.

Caddo Prosecutor, Republican Dhu Thompson, pointed to something called the Duluth Model, where criminal charges are coupled with non-violence classes.

"The unit that I want to propose will follow that model. For anybody that needs to look it up, Google Duluth Model," said Thompson.

Longtime public defender, Democrat Mark Rogers, referred to a program in Richmond, California that identified 25 people responsible for 75 percent of that city's gunfire. It then recruited them into a non-violence program.

"Help reach out to other individuals in their community and become pillars in their community instead of a good example of what a bad person does," explained Rogers.

Former New York City prosecutor and local attorney, independent candidate Lee Harville, insisted the focus should center around prevention.

"You've got a web site, D.A.'s office, has basically nothing on it. Put this information for domestic violence on the web site," suggested Harville.

Democrat LaLeshia Walker Alford promised to create a special victims unit and give victims a court advocate, like she had as a former Shreveport City Judge.

Walker recalled, "She accompanied the victim, sat with her in court and made sure she always had someone with her because that perpetrator can be very threatening."

Republican and attorney Casey Simpson took a wider approach, saying violence results from anger, which stems from a lack of love and affection.

Simpson concluded, "Until we ever do anything about the love and affection, we're always going to have the anger and the violence that stems from it."

And retired appeals court judge and former assistant D.A., Democrat James Stewart, pointed to a team approach to tackle domestic violence in places like schools and churches.

"Between that and then working with law enforcement to go in and try to stem these cases before they ever get to the D.A.'s office," said Stewart.

Project Celebration, Inc. hosted the event which was held at the Southern Hills Business Association on Baird Road in southwest Shreveport.

Just a reminder, election day is Saturday October 24. The runoff election is scheduled for Saturday, November 21.

If you're being abused call Louisiana's statewide Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1-888-411-1333.

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