DeRosier remarks called "racially insensitive" by East Baton Rou - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

DeRosier remarks called "racially insensitive" by East Baton Rouge lawmaker

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Some lawmakers across the state are working to reverse a century-old law rooted in the Jim Crow era. A new Senate bill would require unanimous juries in all felony cases. Now, only ten of twelve are required, except in capital murder cases or in cases where there is a jury of six people, which requires unanimity/

But in a legislative debate last year, words of Calcasieu Parish District Attorney John DeRosier said, enraged at least one legislator at the session last week.

DeRosier acknowledges non-unanimous verdicts had racist beginnings, but told the committee:

 "I'm not proud of that, that that's the way it started. But it is what it is."

His comment drew the ire of Representative Ted James who represents East Baton Rouge Parish.

"To admit that it started in slavery and say, 'It is what it is? I hope the people of your parish are listening, and if they aren't I'm going to make sure that they know what you said.  I am utterly offended," said James, at a committee hearing April 25.

But DeRosier says his comment was misunderstood...

"I said, 'I'm not proud of that, but it is what it is, meaning yes, it was based in racism 138 years ago,'" he said in a interview this week.

Ironically, two public defenders, who emphatically support unanimous verdicts, say DeRosier didn't deserve to be lambasted.

"I know John DeRosier and most everybody in Calcasieu Parish knows he is no racist," said King Alexander, a supervisor at the Calcasieu Public Defender's Office.

Harry Fontenot is the District Defender for Calcasieu and Cameron.

 "I've known John for years, I've been on the other side of the aisle from John.  I've never known him to be racist.  I don't believe he is.  He is not a racist," said Fontenot.

Nearly a week later, James stands by his critique.

"I didn't accuse him of being a racist at the time. He made some racially insensitive remarks. That doesn't make him a racist.  That means he should probably spend more time talking about these issues with people that don't look like him,"said James.

"I'm not going to sit quietly when racially insensitive remarks are made," said James.

James says the bill had unanimous support in committee. The unanimous verdict issue is expected to  be debated later this week.

Copyright 2018 KPLC All rights reserved

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • BREAKING

    Twelve to take test to be next Lake Charles Chief of Police

    Twelve to take test to be next Lake Charles Chief of Police

    Friday, July 20 2018 9:26 PM EDT2018-07-21 01:26:36 GMT
    The City of Lake Charles is currently in the hiring process to replace retiring Chief of Police Don Dixon. Dixon is retiring in January 2019. (Source: Spark)The City of Lake Charles is currently in the hiring process to replace retiring Chief of Police Don Dixon. Dixon is retiring in January 2019. (Source: Spark)

    Twelve people have applied to take the Civil Service test to be the next Chief of Police for the Lake Charles Police Department. Current Chief of Police Don Dixon has announced that he intends to retire Jan. 15, 2019. The deadline to apply to take the test was Wednesday, July 18. The dozen people who applied are made up of several former and current LCPD members and law enforcement from agencies in Louisiana and Texas. KPLC's Theresa Schmidt will be interviewing Mayor Ni...

    More >>

    Twelve people have applied to take the Civil Service test to be the next Chief of Police for the Lake Charles Police Department. Current Chief of Police Don Dixon has announced that he intends to retire Jan. 15, 2019. The deadline to apply to take the test was Wednesday, July 18. The dozen people who applied are made up of several former and current LCPD members and law enforcement from agencies in Louisiana and Texas. KPLC's Theresa Schmidt will be interviewing Mayor Ni...

    More >>
  • Westlake marching band beats the heat

    Westlake marching band beats the heat

    Friday, July 20 2018 9:16 PM EDT2018-07-21 01:16:51 GMT

    Westlake High School's marching band doesn't have camp until next week, but freshmen joining the band were out practicing Friday. But they weren't going through formations on the football field. They were in the parking lot.

    More >>

    Westlake High School's marching band doesn't have camp until next week, but freshmen joining the band were out practicing Friday. But they weren't going through formations on the football field. They were in the parking lot.

    More >>
  • LC Health Dashboard unveiled

    LC Health Dashboard unveiled

    Friday, July 20 2018 8:38 PM EDT2018-07-21 00:38:02 GMT
    (Source: Pablo)(Source: Pablo)

    What they call the City Health Dashboard was unveiled this morning at Lake Charles City Hall. It's basically a web site to learn about 36 key measures of health and factors affecting health in five areas--including health behaviors, physical environment and health outcomes.    it lets people see how lake Charles compares to other cities or counties across the country. “Every day of the city, quality of life matters and what more can average every day citizens do to ...

    More >>

    What they call the City Health Dashboard was unveiled this morning at Lake Charles City Hall. It's basically a web site to learn about 36 key measures of health and factors affecting health in five areas--including health behaviors, physical environment and health outcomes.    it lets people see how lake Charles compares to other cities or counties across the country. “Every day of the city, quality of life matters and what more can average every day citizens do to ...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly