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New Orleans police confirmed Tuesday evening that a suspended city employee will face a battery charge for the alleged attack on a tour guide in the French Quarter.

The attack happened less than two weeks ago near the corner of Royal and Governor Nicholls streets in the French Quarter.  The guide was leading a haunted walking tour at the time.

The Taxicab Bureau is in charge of enforcing guidelines for walking tours which include the hours of operation and the maximum number of customers per tour.

According to the mayor’s office, New Orleans Taxicab Bureau worker Wilton Joiner was suspended when police began their investigation.  Tuesday, a NOPD spokesperson told WGNO News that an arrest warrant had been issued for Joiner on the battery charge.

According to at least three owners of haunted walking tours that operate in the quarter, workers with the Taxicab Bureau began harassing their guides several weeks ago.  They say the bureau workers focused the harassment near the Lalaurie house, one of the city’s most famously haunted homes, at the corner of Royal and Gov. Nicholls.

In other cases, the tour company owners say bureau workers detained their guides until after 10:00 pm, when the tours are required to end, then accused them of operating past hours.

Sources confirm to WGNO News that a tour guide was shown a photo lineup Friday morning to try to catch her attacker.

According to the woman, a city employee assaulted her while she was leading a walking tour through the French Quarter.

The accused worker is an employee for the Taxicab Bureau and is suspended without pay pending the outcome of the police investigation.

Tom Schlosman, the attorney for the woman, says he’s seen murder cases go to trial with less evidence.  He wonders why the accused city worker has yet to be arrested.  The photo lineup may be the next step in that direction.

At least three walking tour companies are represented by Schlosman.  The companies’ owners say the city workers recently began harassing them.  They say the attack on the woman is the most severe case.  But they list other examples of Taxicab Bureau workers stopping tours to check the credentials of the guides and to count their customers then, after a lengthy delay, citing the tour guides for operating too late into the evening.

During the photo, lineup, the victim of the assault was shown six photos.  She was able to select one of the photos as her attacker, but there’s no word yet on whether she chose the accused city worker or someone else.

From the office of New Orleans attorney Tom Shlosman, the owners of three walking tour companies called for justice Thursday afternoon.

Cindi Richardson, Sidney Smith, and Thomas Cook claim workers with the New Orleans Taxicab Bureau recently began harassing their tours.

“We had nonstop harassment every single night,” Smith said.  “Every single group that came near the corner of Royal and Governor Nicholls.”

The corner in question is where the Lalaurie House is located, a home that is reputed to be haunted and is a part of virtually all haunted walking tours in the quarter.

The Taxicab Bureau is responsible for enforcing regulations on the walking tours which include their hours of operating and maximum number of customers per tour.

Smith says one of his workers was assaulted by a Taxicab Bureau worker while she was giving a tour near Royal and Gov. Nicholls.

The city has suspended the accused worker and says safety during the walking tours is its priority.  A spokesman for the mayor’s office said there would be no further comment because the case is being investigated by the NOPD.

Another company owner, Richardson, said her workers are harassed by Taxicab Bureau workers who sometimes stop the tours to check the guide’s credentials and count the number of customers.  Richardson says the stops can sometimes cover extended periods of time, and if they go past the required 10:00 pm quitting time for walking tours, the guides’ licenses are confiscated for the violation.

Richardson also says he has video tape that shows a worker waiting for tours to arrive.

Attorney Tom Shlosman says he’s already filed legal requests for information from the city regarding the regulations for the tours.  He says more legal work is sure to follow.

“I have seen murder cases go to trial with less evidence,” Shlosman said.

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