NEW ORLEANS — Twelve hours, that's how long it took New Orleans Police to respond to a woman calling for help with an alleged domestic abuser. Asia Davis was eventually killed by that man investigators have said.
Now city councilmembers want to know why police took so long to get to her.
Davis was one of six women killed in New Orleans in the span of a month. According to dispatch records, the young mother called for help, but authorities seemingly failed her.
Council President JP Morrell spoke about Davis at Thursday's council meeting.
"This woman reached out twice, to the New Orleans Police Department through 911, and made complaints, fearing for her life,” Councilman Morrell said.
Davis was apparently killed by her boyfriend – Henry Talley Junior. Our partners at Nola.com said he shot her, then ran her over with an SUV.
Twice – before her death – she called 911 for help. Dispatch records show on April 6 and April 18, her calls were downgraded. In both occasions, it took NOPD 12 hours to respond, and both calls were marked “gone on arrival.”
NOPD told Eyewitness News, those calls were downgraded, because the suspect had left the scene and there was no threat of imminent danger.
Councilman Morrell wants to know why a domestic violence complaint is not a priority, he said, "It's just it is hard for us as a city to have victims and survivors take us seriously when we don't prioritize their safety by thinking a 12 hour response on to complaints of domestic violence is acceptable."
Domestic Violence advocate Kim Sport says there's no excuse for why it took officers that long to get to Davis.
"There's a reason why we have laws that distinguish simple abuse battery from domestic abuse battery and that's because of the threat of imminent harm to a victim of domestic abuse," said Sport.
There is a law – Gwen’s Law – that allows judges to deny bail if they believe offenders will commit domestic violence. Councilwoman Helena Moreno is asking why there aren’t more of those hearings in New Orleans.
She said during the council meeting, "In Jefferson Parish, they roughly hold 150 Glen's law hearings every month, that's on average, on a high number that it's about 180, here in Orleans Parish, we hold about 15 a month."
Henry Talley Jr. has been arrested and is facing a second-degree murder charge.
The full NOPD statement reads:
"Domestic violence is an intolerable offense and any emergency calls related to domestic violence received are a high priority for the New Orleans Police Department. Every woman and every person should be able to live a life without the threat of violence. We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Asia Davis.
The NOPD takes all calls for service seriously, including reported domestic violence incidents, and works to respond to these calls as quickly as possible. The NOPD works with the Orleans Parish Communications District to dispatch calls for services on a priority system based on the information received from callers and the immediacy required for police to respond on scene.
Calls for Domestic Violence are coded as priority 2. However, in each of the incidents, information received from the complainant was that the alleged perpetrator was no longer on the scene, thus eliminating the threat of imminent danger and reclassified as Code 1.
In each instance, the first available unit was dispatched and responded to the reporting location. In each instance, the officer arrived on scene and received no answer at the door. In the April 6 incident, there was no response to two attempts to call the complainant back. In the April 19 incident, the complainant was reached by telephone and advised that neither they nor the alleged perpetrator were on scene and canceled the call for service. The unit on each scene then marked up the respective call as Gone on Arrival.
All emergencies and in-progress calls receive an immediate high priority response. Emergencies impacting human life will always take precedent. Non-emergency calls will have a higher wait time. If the complainant feels unsafe in their location, it is suggested that they relocate to a safe place and call 911 to provide their new location."