911 operator on administrative leave after crime witness says she hung up on him

911 operator on administrative leave after crime witness says she hung up on him

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A 911 operator is on administrative leave pending an investigation into the way she allegedly handled an emergency call.

A witness said she hung up on him while he was trying to report what he believed to be a beating and kidnapping in Mid-City.

"There was this guy that was beating up this girl and I watched and I couldn't believe it," the witness said.

The witness, who is not being identified, described what he saw Wednesday morning at the corner of Baudin and South Solomon streets.

"He hit her so hard she fell to the ground. He picked her up and he was trying to shove her in his vehicle and she was resisting as much as she possibly could resist," the witness said. "She opened the passenger door and tried to get out and run, he ran around to the passenger side, again slapped her a couple more times and shoved her, forced her against her will inside of the vehicle."

The witness said he called 911 and got an operator on the line, but he said he was frustrated with her line of questioning.

"She goes, 'Well sir was there anybody hurt?' Now, I'm getting a little aggravated, you know, because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what's going on. I gave her the license plate number, I gave her the description of the vehicle and I gave her a description of the gentleman, what he was wearing, his dreadlocks, the whole nine yards," he said.

He said the questioning continued.

"I said, 'Ma'am, look this is no joke. I'm tired of all this. By the time we finish this little phone interview thing, they could be in Colorado or somewhere. You need to get on the phone and call a police officer,'" he said. "You need to track this guy down, I've given you everything that I can give you, I don't know anything else. She hung up on me."

After that, the witness called the director of ProjectNOLA who captured video of the incident. He wouldn't release it to FOX 8 News, but he did allow us to view it. We can tell you the video shows a struggle between a man and woman, and it appears she tried to get away but he forces her back into the car.

"We were able to verify exactly what he told us. We saw a woman struggle, try to get out of a vehicle, succeed, run possibly about 50 feet, where she was again captured and dragged back to the car so, it looked like she went kicking," said ProjectNOLA Director Bryan Lagarde. "We immediately contacted the 911 command desk, relayed the information, but to our surprise they told us they had no record of that incident."

We also reached out to the Orleans Parish Communication District, the agency that handles 911 calls.

"This afternoon OPCD did receive several 911 calls about an incident that you are referring to. An officer was dispatched at 12:07 p.m., and we continue to send officers to check the area. But we did receive several calls and we did dispatch officers as the calls were received," said OPCD Deputy Director of Operations Tyrell Morris.

Reporter: "Did this dispatcher handle this call inappropriately?"

Morris: "There was an allegation made that a call taker did not properly handle the call so we are doing an ongoing investigation into that. The agency took a proactive approach and placed that call taker on administrative leave."

As for the witness, he said he's concerned for the young woman he tried to help.

"Well, I'm absolutely concerned," he said. "I'm livid, absolutely livid. I spent 40 years in the military and I've seen all kinds of stuff, but this just really and truly takes the cake."

New Orleans police said they received a call from the 911 center and officers responded accordingly. We're also told the investigation is active.

Copyright WVUE 2017. All rights reserved.