NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The New Orleans Police Department is under fire for its response to a rape that happened in the French Quarter last month after a witness says she was ignored by an NOPD officer when she called for help.
The woman, who declined to be interviewed due to safety concerns, told WGNO she witnessed a man raping an unconscious woman at the intersection of Royal and Toulouse streets on the night of July 26. Around 11:20, the witness called 911. Public records say the first NOPD unit arrived five minutes later, and that dispatch recorded the witness claimed the suspect walked toward Bourbon Street.
The woman said she left the scene without giving a report and that responding officers didn’t take her seriously — something advocates say may be a trend.
“There’s an ongoing lack of response… highly invested in ending sexual violence,” Tanya Rawal with the nonprofit group Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) told WGNO’s Jordan Lippincott.
Rawal says she was alerted about the witness’ story because of a social media post about her experience in the French Quarter.
“You know, that’s something for NOPD and other city officials to really realize — that there are more cameras, more microphones, more platforms to speak from,” Rawal explained.
WGNO reached out to the NOPD for a response to allegations and if they were questioning the officer who reportedly refused assistance. The department didn’t answer our questions but said the case remains under investigation. Additionally, we were told detectives are searching for surveillance footage of the incident and that the victim in the investigation is not cooperating.
Rawal believes NOPD owes answers in connection to the incident.
“You know, we’re not in the generation or era anymore. Those days are over.”