“There’s a man having sex with a woman on the street corner in the open. She is totally passed out,” began a 911 call in New Orleans. Then, the caller added, “Two police officers just drove by. I know they saw them, and they did not stop, but somebody needs to respond to that. She is being raped.”
The caller said there was an officer parked just a block away from the scene, who she said did nothing even after she alerted him to the rape. In audio recordings from the 911 call, she can be heard talking to the officer, with no response.
As the nearly six-minute-long call dragged on, the caller started to panic. As nearby officers did nothing, she debated dealing with the rapist.
“I probably should fucking walk up there. Like, this poor girl. I mean, I am going to get up there faster than this fucking cop is,” she said. “The police officer hasn’t even moved. He’s still just parked here. What the fuck? What the fuck are y’all doing?”
The caller’s account, first shared on Twitter in late July, ignited outrage across New Orleans. But the audio recording of her 911 call, obtained earlier this week by local news outlet The Lens, poured gasoline on the fire.
On Thursday, Constable of Second City Court Edwin Shorty told another local news outlet, WWL-TV, that the officer accused of failing to act, a deputy constable, had been suspended indefinitely without pay. The constable was working on an approved detail for a film production, Nola.com reported.
That constable is now facing an investigation, Shorty said.
Do you know of cases where police officers ignored reports of sexual assault? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deputy constables are trained, uniformed law enforcement officers who carry guns and badges, according to WWL-TV. They focus on eviction-related actions and process server duties for courts that handle small claims, but they also have the power to arrest people.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, meanwhile, said in a press conference that there was a video of a New Orleans Police Department car driving near the scene. But, Ferguson said, it’s not clear if they saw what happened.
“No one waved the vehicle down or flagged the vehicle down to draw the officers' attention to that particular incident,” Ferguson said. Ferguson said a New Orleans Police Department officer showed up just minutes after the 911 call.
But by that point, it may have been too late. On the 911 call, the woman can be heard saying that the alleged rapist had vanished.
“He’s fucking gone!” she yelled. “This fucking cop is still a block away and this girl got raped on a street corner! Literally got raped on a street corner! These cops drove right fucking past her!”
Police are still investigating the alleged sexual assault.
Out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, just 310 are reported to police, according to statistics from RAINN, the nation’s premiere anti-sexual assault organization. But of those, even fewer result in real criminal consequences: Just 50 cases lead to arrests, and only 28 lead to a felony conviction.
Police officers themselves also sexually assault people much more often than most people tend to think. One 2020 Bowling Green State University study identified 669 cases of police sexual violence between 2005 and 2012.
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