Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CNN Special Reports on Crime Fighters in New Orleans

CNN Press Release - Soledad O’Brien Shadows New Inspector General, DAs and NOPD as They Fight ‘One Crime at a Time’

In 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina decimated their city, New Orleans’ law enforcement was fighting another battle: a soaring rate of homicides. The city’s 209 homicides gave it the highest per capita murder rate in the nation. A year later, the situation could be even worse as crime, corruption and bureaucracy bring new threats.

In a one-hour documentary, CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien is on the frontlines with the foot soldiers working to bring law and order to the Big Easy. CNN Presents: One Crime at a Time takes a critical look at the factors that plague New Orleans and endanger its future. The program premieres on Saturday, Nov. 22, and Sunday, Nov. 23, at 8 p.m., 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. All times Eastern.

O’Brien’s reporting begins on the violent streets of New Orleans, where city homicide detectives investigate murders during shifts that can last as long as 30 hours. O’Brien rides along with Detectives Anthony Pardo and Harold Wischan. Twenty-year-old Guy McEwen is murdered in broad daylight in front of a dozen witnesses just a week after he testifies in a high profile murder case. Despite evidence, detectives have a difficult time arresting his killer.

One Crime at a Time tells the story of a law enforcement community determined to save the city by defeating corruption, crime and violence.

Because of the city’s understaffed police department, arresting killers and prosecuting homicides is difficult at best. Despite the odds, Assistant District Attorneys Mary Glass and Tanya Faia are finding some success. After nine months on the job, they’ve won or secured guilty pleas in all of their cases. But even with new leadership in the district attorney’s office and a stepped-up focus on homicide prosecutions, O’Brien finds that progress is slow.

Bob Cerasoli, the city’s new inspector general, fights the battle on a different front. He was hired in 2007 to cut down corruption, waste, fraud and misappropriations in New Orleans. If the city provides Cerasoli with the tools he says he needs, he believes he can save tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. But Cerasoli still doesn’t have enough staff or resources to launch as many investigations as he would like.

Mark Nelson is the vice president and senior executive producer for One Crime at a Time. Michelle Rozsa is senior producer; Jody Gottlieb is the managing editor.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

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