NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans man said the NOPD made a bad situation even worse when he reported that he had just been carjacked.
Ryan Clute was in the 1500 block of Congress Street in the St. Claude neighborhood, loading donated toys into a running car when it happened.
The musician said a man suddenly rushed him from behind.
“(He) slammed my head against the car, pushed my friend out of the way. Before we were able to grab him, he slipped into the car and just drove off,” Clute said.
The carjacking happened around 8 p.m., last Thursday night.
Clute said his friend’s iPhone and his iPad were in the car. They were able to track the stolen vehicle in real-time using the Find My Phone app on both devices.
Clute said he called 911 to report the carjacking and the car’s location.
“I said, can you send a unit out because we have a fix on the vehicle’s location and he said 'well, I’m going to have to finish writing out this report,'” Clute said.
Clute added, New Orleans police never arrived on Congress Street to investigate, so he went to the NOPD’s Fifth District headquarters just four blocks away to report the crime.
“I’m trying to explain we know where the car is, right now if you can bring a unit out, we can go and track it down and they seemed not interested at all in tracking down very concrete leads,” Clute said.
Clute’s girlfriend Katie Myers owns the vehicle. It’s a 2019 Red Kia Rio.
She called the Fifth District the next morning to check on the status of the investigation.
Myers claims that the officer that answered the phone berated her, told her the carjacking wasn’t her problem, and then hung up on her when she asked the officer for her name.
“It felt really bad,” Myers said. “It felt really isolating. It felt really just like, in a city where things already feel a little scary, a little desperate. It made us feel a little bit scared and a little bit more desperate.”
Eventually, the carjacker dumped the iPhone and iPad in New Orleans East.
Clute said the last known location of the stolen vehicle was near North Galvez and Port Streets.
The NOPD is now investigating the crime and the way the couple was treated by the department.
“We have received a complaint concerning the behavior toward a citizen by one of our officers,” NOPD Superintendent Shawn Ferguson said in a written statement. “A formal investigation into the incident is underway. This type of behavior does not represent our professionalism and who we are as a department. It will not be tolerated.”
“I think that officers are really quick to try and command respect when they themselves are not giving that same respect to the people in the community,” Myers said.
“I needed help and they weren’t there,” Clute said. “They said it’s not our problem, dude.”
As of late Monday, police had not found the stolen vehicle.
Again, it is a 2019 Red Kia Rio, LA license plate number: 288-DWG.
If you’ve seen it or know anything about this crime, call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.