Woman in video says she was attacked; officer should have stepped in

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 6:20 PM

NEW ORLEANS - One of the young women involved in a fight captured on video said she was surprised that a police officer standing nearby didn't intervene.

Eighteen-year-old Lakena Comeaux, who was the woman in black in the video, said it wasn't the first time she was attacked near the same area of Canal Street.

She said it has happened three times before.

"Before it got to that situation, I was getting attacked almost every day," she said. "They're going to look at us like we're animals, like we have no self control. It's not like that. I was harassed, attacked and just got tired of it."

Comeaux said she was walking to work when she was confronted. She claims that an ongoing dispute involving her brother, who was in the video, and a group of others, escalated into the encounter. At one point a man punched Comeaux in the face.

"I had a busted lip, a bruise to my face," she said.

Comeaux's brother landed a punch of his own, hitting the woman in pink. All of it happened in front of Veteran NOPD Officer Cortez Hankton.

"I thought he should have broke it up," said Comeaux. "But, he was just standing there."

Hankton was suspended by NOPD Supt. Ronal Serpas.

Business owners on the street said the fracas was not unusual.

"I'm losing customers every day," lamented Mohammed Kaiser Sarker. "They don't like to come to this side because they say it's not like safe for them."

Sarker said he doesn't call police because he fears retaliation. Comeaux said she was arrested for the fight but later released. Despite the video's attention, she said nothing has changed.

"If they don't stop them now, it's going to get to the point somebody is really going to get hurt."

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