Opelousas Police exploring idea of charging parents of juveniles involved in crimes

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Charging the parents of juveniles involved in crimes. It’s an idea Opelousas Police are considering following a recent string of shootings.

Since March 1st, there have been 42 shots fired incidents. There were 18 shootings, where there was an injury or property damage. There were 16 juvenile arrests on weapons related charges, including murder and attempted murder.

“Somebody got to be held accountable,” said Opelousas Police Chief Martin McClendon.

Chief McClendon says he’s frustrated over this dangerous and distrubing trend in his city.

“We’re taking a hard line against these juveniles. their parents got to be held responsible,” said McClendon.

There have been several shootings in the city over the past week. A 10 year old boy was hit by gunfire while he was sleeping in his bed last weekend. And, a home was sprayed with bullets, where three children were inside, early Tuesday morning. Fortunately, they were not hit. Both were drive by shootings.

Chief McClendon says social media is playing a role, in a bad way. It stirs up disagreements and amplifies bragging, which leads to violence.

“We have information where parents are on social media beefing with one another over their children. So, they’re obviously giving the green light to that child to be part of a violent act.”

Criminal prosecution of a parent might be challenging, unless there is sufficient evidence of parent participation. However, under Louisiana law, a victim of a crime committed by a juvenile can sue the parents to recover damages.

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