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NEW ORLEANS - The city has suspended a Taxicab Bureau official while it investigates allegations that he attacked a tour guide as she was leading a group through the French Quarter Saturday night.
Wendy Bosma, with Haunted History Tours, said she was conducting a tour on Royal Street when Taxicab Bureau inspector Wilton Joiner approached her. Tour guides fall under Joiner's agency.
"He wanted to confiscate my license, which he has no right to do," Joiner said. "He took it first, told me to go ahead and finish my tour and come back and get it from him afterward."
Bosma said she took her he license back and walked away. That's when she said the confrontation escalated.
"He threw me up against the car and twisted my arm behind my back until I gave him my license back."
The incident was captured on video. In it, a woman can be heard screaming, but the faces are difficult to make out.
"This is nothing less than bullish harassment," said Sidney Smith, owner of Haunted History
Tours. it's major intimidation,
very thuggish behavior."
Smith said what happened to his employee is inexcusable.
"He grabbed her permit, she was feeling intimated and bullied and took it back,
and that is when he attacked her," said Smith.
The city released the following statement:
"The Taxicab Bureau Investigator has been placed on emergency suspension, without pay, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. We expect City employees to respond to citizen complaints, and when they do to treat citizens with respect. We take these allegations very seriously."
Bosma's attorney said not only do they want Joiner fired immediately, he said a lawsuit will be filed over the incident.
"Absolutely, absolutely, we're demanding Wilton Joiner's immediate
termination because a crime was committed, there's no question about that,
there are multiple witnesses, they have it on video," said attorney Tom Shlosman.
He said Taxicab Bureau employees have no authority to touch anyone.
New Orleans police spokeswoman Remi Braden said there are conflicting accounts of what
occurred, and detectives are searching for clearer video while continuing to
meet with both parties as part of the ongoing investigation.
Bosma's attorney said from what he heard on the video, he has no doubt
about who did what.
"It is crystal clear that she is in pain and she's hurting and this man
is battering her," said Shlosman.
Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:07 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:07:52 GMT
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