NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— New details have been released after a woman said she was ignored by New Orleans Police Department officers after witnessing an unconscious woman being raped in the French Quarter.
On Friday, the NOPD held a press conference to address the case, in which Supt. Shaun Ferguson said the officer was a law enforcement officer with the city’s Constable Officer — not with the NOPD.
Second City Court Constable Edwin Shortly confirmed the officer in question was one of his reserve deputies working on a movie detail when the crime happened. The deputy has been placed on administrative suspension pending an internal investigation by the department’s Public Integrity Bureau.
“Evidence was obtained that clearly showed that the individual who made the complaint about our response did not speak to a New Orleans police officer in first reporting this incident, prior to calling 911,” Ferguson said in Friday’s press conference.
The witness said after being ignored, she saw two NOPD officers driving by the intersection of Royal and Toulouse streets at the time of the incident. Ferguson says video shows an officer passing by in a police unity, but it’s unclear if the witness attempted to flag them down.
“We cannot prove or disprove that officer could actually see that there was something going on at the intersection,” Ferguson added. “They were not waved down. No one waved the vehicle down or flagged their vehicle down to draw the officer’s attention to that particular incident.”
When officers arrived on scene, the witness claimed she insisted that they administer Narcan to the victim but that they refused.
Ferguson said that after officers initially believed Narcan administration was required, it was determined to be unnecessary because the victim was conscious upon their arrival.
Ferguson would not confirm if a suspect has been identified in the investigation, only that the NOPD’s Special Victims Unit was actively working on the case.
“That’s intentional because it is an active investigation in which the detectives need to gather more information, so as we obtain footage that we think is pertinent to the investigation that they will like to release, we will release, but I will not speak to what they have right now.”
The superintendent says both law enforcement officers and the public have to take responsibility for preventing sexual assault.
“I’m not going to stand here and victimize that victim again. It was a traumatic incident she went through. We’re going to do our best, as we always are doing, with regards to trying to prevent anyone from being victimized: sexual assault, homicide, no matter what it may be.”
WGNO reached out to the witness following the release of NOPD’s findings. She released the following statement:
“I appreciate that Shaun Ferguson has finally addressed the situation and conveyed his findings to the public. While I do not agree that responding officers acted appropriately, I hope this incident incentivizes NOPD to reconsider their Narcan training program and to focus on appropriate victim-sensitive response.”