A disturbing report out of New Orleans Wednesday finds that the city police department routinely ignored calls reporting cases of sexual assault and child abuse. The investigation by the city’s inspector general centers on five NOPD detectives who received nearly 1,300 calls reporting sex crimes from 2011 through 2013. Of those calls, the detectives failed to write investigative reports in 86 percent of the cases.
The investigation examined every call the detectives received as part of the special victims unit and found “[i]n only 450 cases did the detectives fill out an initial report, and in 271 of those cases, no further reports were made at all,” according to the New York Times. Here’s more on how bad the detectives’ conduct was on the job from the Times-Picayune:
In 65 percent of the cases reviewed, detectives submitted no initial incident reports—a basic summary of allegations—because the detectives classified those calls as “miscellaneous” incidents that did not merit any documentation at all … In 60 percent of the 450 cases reviewed, there was no supplemental report, a key record used by the department and prosecutors documenting investigative findings. Only 105 complaints became cases that were presented to the district attorney's office. Of those, 74 cases were prosecuted, but only after the district attorney's office conducted its own investigations, seeking medical records and interviewing witnesses and victims … The five detectives—Akron Davis, Merrill Merricks, Derrick Williams, Damita Williams and Vernon Haynes—represented the majority of the Special Victims Section, which had between eight and nine detectives throughout the three-year period.
One of the detectives, Damita Williams, even told several people she “did not believe simple rape should be a crime,” according to the report. “[Williams] was assigned 11 simple rape cases over the course of three years; only one was presented to the district attorney's office,” according to the Times-Picayune. “In one case, she wrote that no DNA evidence was recovered. But State Police lab records showed that DNA evidence had in fact been found in that case.”
The five detectives under investigation, the Times-Picayune reports, have all been taken off the special victims unit and—for being so horrible at their jobs—have been put on street patrol.