Police seek 3 in beating of couple in French Quarter

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 26, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 29 at 5:20 AM

Katie Moore / Eyewitness News
Email: kmoore@wwltv.com | Twitter: @katiecmoore


UPDATE:
 Wednesday, Aug. 28 - Video provided to Eyewitness News appears to show the first officer on the scene of the beating was out of his car for 5--6 minutes. The video shows the car empty at some point and a figure approaching the ambulance that was on the scene.

UPDATE: Tuesday, Aug. 27 - The NOPD is seeking information on three men who beat a couple early Saturday morning near the intersection of Dauphine and Iberville Streets.

A video of the men believed to be involved in the incident was made public by the NOPD.

Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers at 822-1111.

NEW ORLEANS -- A Metairie man had two plates surgically put in his jaw Monday after three men jumped him and a female friend in the French Quarter Saturday morning.

His family members asked for help with the case Monday. They say they feel police swept it under the rug.

The attack happened on a relatively busy intersection in the French Quarter, Dauphine and Iberville, even at 6 a.m. on a Saturday. It’s across from a hotel and a restaurant and it’s surrounded by surveillance cameras.

27-year-old Donnie Mehrtens, III, was walking a girl to her car Saturday morning. Surveillance video shows Donnie, wearing a neon green shirt, and the girl walking up Iberville Street, crossing the street. Then three men come from behind and punch the girl in the face, tackling Mehrtens to the ground.

“He said let's just keep walking. As soon as he said that, they jumped him, punched the girl in the face and jumped him. Next thing you know, he was on the ground and they stomped his face,” his father, Donald Mehrtens, Jr., said outside of the hospital where his son was undergoing surgery Monday.

Mehrtens stumbles off on the video, and from a different angle, the surveillance video shows he and the girl are both clearly hurt.

The three young suspects ran off.

“His jaw was broken in two places, or actually three, in the front as well, lost a tooth, had concussion,” Mehrtens, Jr., said.

According to New Orleans EMS, the call came in as an assault through 911. 911 officials said all calls are first answered by the NOPD, and then dispatched to the appropriate agency. The NOPD says a car was dispatched to the scene.

After Mehrtens is put in the ambulance, the video shows an NOPD officer pulling up across the street. The owners of the surveillance system say the cameras stop recording when there's no motion on the screen.

And while there are gaps in the video, the clock shows the officer is on camera for six minutes, but it doesn't appear to show him getting out of the car.

Update: New Orleans police said Tuesday that the officer who is seen in a video pulling up at the scene without getting out of the car, did, in fact, get out of the car. They say the motion detection cameras that captured the incident stopped recording even though he was moving around his car, and did not capture him gathering information.

Police said that officer was on his way off the clock at 7 a.m. and stopped because he was flagged down at the scene, not because he was dispatched.

“His friend came up to the scene and asked the policeman, 'Where's my friend?' He said he's in an ambulance. Police said you have to file a report. Rolled up the windows and left,” Mehrtens, Jr., said.

You can see Donnie’s friend talking to the officer on the video as well. Police say the officer ruled the call "unfounded" and didn't write a report on the beating.

We asked Mehrtens, “What's your level of confidence that this is gonna get solved?”

He responded, “Zero. In fact, that's what the police officer told his friend. He said good luck catching these guys.”

NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden issued this statement about the issue:

"The NOPD is currently retrieving surveillance video in its entirety from the area where this crime occurred. The woman who was with the victim told a lieutenant late this afternoon, that an exchange of words earlier in the evening precipitated this incident. The NOPD continues to conduct interviews and investigate the entire matter."

 

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