Police take more than an hour to respond to violent videotaped beating

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 29 at 6:30 AM

Brendan McCarthy / Eyewitness News
Email: bmccarthy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @bmccarthyWWL

NEW ORLEANS - Shortly after 5 p.m. last Thursday, an Algiers Point neighborhood dispute turned bloody.

And Patty Mack's private crime camera was rolling the whole time.

It captured a brutal beating, and later, the whole 60-minute span in which the victim and others waited for the New Orleans Police Department to arrive.

The hour-long wait comes amid a staffing shortage at the NOPD. And statistics show much longer response times by officers.

An Eyewitness Investigation earlier this week revealed that NOPD officers, on average, are responding to emergency calls for violent crimes in 14 ½ minutes.

And following earlier WWL-TV inquiries, the NOPD has opened an internal investigation into two sergeants, an officer and a police dispatcher regarding this most recent incident in Algiers Point.

Patty Mack said her husband first heard the sound last week of fist to a face. He went inside. They looked to their private crime camera and caught the tail end of the beating of a neighborhood man.

"The victim looked this way, and the perpetrator gave him a punch that just about knocked him out,” Mack said.

The perpetrator struck again and again, pummeling the victim.

"I dialed 911 and I said we have an assault that just occurred,” Mack said. “The perpetrator is here, the victim is here. He is seriously injured."

Mack said at about 5:25 p.m.

Then, minutes passed. She and her husband consoled the victim. And they waited, and waited.

"After 20 minutes and nobody came, I came inside and called the 4th District,” she said. “They said, ‘Oh yes, we have the call, we'll have somebody that will be there shortly.’"

So they waited. And waited some more.

"I gave them the benefit of the doubt and figured that somebody would be there shortly,” she said.

Eventually, a police vehicle arrived.

“It took an hour and two or three minutes before they came."

Mack is a former Nassau County (New York) police dispatcher and a retired New York courts officer.

She remembers days on her job when supervisors squawked if response times were over five minutes. And she considers herself pro-law enforcement, but like many others is concerned about New Orleans crime and befuddled by the NOPD response to this beating.

"Time is of the essence,” she noted.

The NOPD now has about 1,260 officers, including 20 recruits that have yet to enter the training academy. It’s a historic low for the department and citizens say they can feel the shortage.

“Our concern really is do we have the numbers of police that can respond to these hotspots and stop the killing, without taking the protection away from other neighborhoods,” said Michael Rocks of the Algiers Point neighborhood watch. “And the numbers we are concerned are simply not there to allow the police leadership to do what I know they would like to do: keep citizens safe and keep their officers safe."

The NOPD said the suspect in the beating has been arrested and booked with battery. A police spokeswoman declined to release the names of the officers under investigation, and declined to elaborate on the reason for the hourlong response.

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