Let me first tell you this is my opinion. I get really upset when leaders coddle criminals or other folks who cause trouble in our community.

It happens from time to time in cities all over the nation. It's happened in Louisiana. But I think what happened in New Orleans this month is so outrageous, I can't really believe it actually took place. Mayor LaToya Cantrell showed up in court to support a 14-year-old carjacking suspect and his mother. This happened right in front of the victims.

New Orleans Mayor

This teenager used a fake gun to physically overtake the victims and steal their cars. He was accused in 5 such incidents.

And now, Mayor Cantrell is defending her decision to show up in court to support the family. She says this young man has turned his life in a positive direction with the help of a program she oversees.

Mayor Cantrell Is Taking Lots of Heat

The mayor has faced criticism from members of the city council and even some of her supporters for this public display while victims were crying in the courtroom.

The teenager got probation despite being convicted on three first-degree robbery charges. Cantrell told reporters this week “I do not regret supporting a young person who has demonstrated that they are willing to make better decisions. I did not want to disrupt the proceedings of the courtroom. I had a schedule to attend to. I did say, 'God Bless You.' That means something to me... I rubbed their shoulder. That's my way."

Cantrell says this teen participated in her Pathways program that she says tries to steer young people in a better direction. She said that 88 percent of the participants in the program stay on the right track.

But I just have to take exception with this public display. It sends the message that you support criminals. It sends the message that you don't care about the victims, at all. I understand this is a young man. But he has hurt people. He has traumatized people. I just can not come to grips with why this mayor thought showing up in court was a good idea. If you want to support this family, do it in private. Don't do it right in the face of the the victims.

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