Mayor Cantrell: "I have decided not to move forward" with hiring Warren Riley

Riley: "Mayor's reversal comes as a complete surprise"

Chris Miller
May 16, 2018 - 12:45 pm

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says she will not be hiring former New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley to be the Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

"While I believe that Warren Riley is uniquely qualified for a role as our City’s Director of Homeland Security & Public Safety --- with a resume that includes serving as the Federal Coordinating Officer overseeing seven federally declared disasters in just over four years--- I have listened to the people of New Orleans on both sides, and I have decided not to move forward with his employment," the mayor said in a statement released this afternoon.

Word that Riley was under consideration for a top city hall post sparked controversy, or as Cantrell put it shortly before taking office, an "uptick in the community." Riley was Deputy Superintendent in charge of NOPD operations during Hurricane Katrina and the deadly Danziger Bridge shootings just days later. Mayor Cantrell said the "lingering trauma so many of our residents still struggle with, the post-traumatic stress that still informs how we all look back to that flashpoint, makes it untenable to move forward with Mr. Riley as part of our new administration."

Cantrell cited Riley's work as a Federal Coordinating Officer on national disasters as a key qualification for the job she was considering hiring him for. But Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, said it was under Riley's watch that the NOPD ended up under a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Riley released a statement on the mayor's decision this afternoon.

"Regrettably, I learned this morning in a telephone conversation with Mayor La Toya Cantrell that she has rescinded her official appointment," said Riley. "After six-weeks of rigorous interviews and vetting, it was determined that I was the most qualified candidate for the position. I am deeply disappointed and the Mayor's reversal comes as a complete surprise."

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