NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Summoned to court by the New Orleans Police Department, the parents of an 11-year-old arrested for a rash of car burglaries say it’s not their fault.
Donald Bryant and Donna Howard were served a summons for improper supervision in connection with at least 22 car break-ins. The child’s father claims someone older is controlling him.
"They powered him more than we have power over him because everything he needed at home was at home,” Bryant said. “If he needed us, we were always there. They overpowered my child. They really did."
In municipal court, Judge Joseph Landry said there wasn’t probable cause to set a bond, but it doesn’t mean the case is over. The case now heads to the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office where the parents could face state charges.
"This was always the issue, the enforceability of this kind of the statute,” said WVUE Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti. “It sounds good to hold a parent responsible but if you read the statute, in its present iteration, the judge ruled correctly."
With surveillance video detectives say that shows the 11-year-old inside a car, his legs dangling outside the window.
"They're in the courthouse saying [my son] was the driver,” Bryant said. “He wasn't the driver. I spoke with the cop. They said he ran and that your son was under a house with one slipper on scared to death."
Their child faces multiple charges for his alleged connection to nearly two dozen Gentilly area break-ins. Police are still looking for three others in connection with those burglaries.
“It’s like they’re trying to bill a case against his parents and we’re not bad parents,” Howard said. “It’s not our fault he was out doing the things that he was doing. We tried to get send him to school. It’s like when we get up, he going to take out running from me. If he’s behind me I look back and he’s gone.”
The pair believe they’re being used as a scapegoat for other juveniles reportedly breaking into vehicles.
"We're the type of parents we want better for our children," Bryant said.
“I get that the people are upset,” Raspanti said. “I am too but it is tough to do this statue with the parents what’s easier is to hold the criminals doing the acts accountable and that has not been happening.”
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