A New Orleans deputy constable has resigned in the wake of an investigation that found he ignored a woman's call for help after she witnessed an unconscious woman being raped in the city's French Quarter.
Constable Edwin M. Shorty announced on Thursday that the officer, who was a Reserve Deputy Constable, resigned amid an internal investigation into the sexual assault that occurred on July 26.
'This Girl Just Got Raped on a Street'
A 911 recording obtained by FOX 8 details the moments a woman reported a rape at the corner of Toulouse and Royal streets just after 11 p.m. on July 26. She is heard telling a dispatcher she saw what she believed to be an NOPD officer a block away, not responding to the scene of a man having sex with an unconscious woman. She breaks down when she realizes the suspected rapist has fled.
"He's gone, and this cop is still a block away, and this girl just got raped on a street corner, literally raped on a street corner," the caller said.
Deputy Constable Seen Sitting in His Car, Walking in the Opposite Direction
Perhaps the most shocking finding from the investigation was that the deputy, who was in his vehicle when the witness alerted him, didn't exit his car until after she had left and even more, was seen on surveillance video walking in the opposite direction of where the crime believably happened.
Police Chief Shaun Ferguson said the man she approached was not an NOPD officer, but a uniformed Second City Court deputy constable who was working a paid detail nearby. "Unfortunately, some of our uniforms are similar in nature," Ferguson said. The deputy constable was placed on suspension.
"More than several minutes elapsed between the initial complaint by the civilian witness to the deputy and when the deputy was able to confirm that NOPD had arrived on the scene," Shorty said in a statement. "Furthermore, the deputy never attempted to exit his vehicle to assist the witness and did not exit his vehicle until after the witness had left his location and video evidence confirms that he actually walked in the opposite direction of the alleged incident."
More information from the investigation showed that the officer's actions did not align with the statement he gave to the department.
"At no time did the deputy attempt to consult with the responding law enforcement agency, NOPD, nor did he notify his supervisors," Shorty continued. "The constable's office was not notified about this incident until August 10. The reserve deputy's actions were inconsistent with his official statement, his training, and the general law enforcement code of ethics."
The deputy's letter of resignation was accepted by Shorty on Thurs., Aug. 18. He has not been identified.