Milwaukee police take 3 hours to respond to sex assault

AP News
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Posted: Jul 24, 2015 6:12 PM

MILWAUKEE (AP) — An 82-year-old woman waited three hours for Milwaukee police to respond to her call for help after she was sexually assaulted, according to police department records.

The department has been criticized for long response times in the past, and a spokesman acknowledged this one was "excessive."

Last week, the woman was knocked to the ground by a stranger and sexually assaulted after she got off a bus near her home in Milwaukee, according to records obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1LGAQyG ). After walking home, the woman called 911. The call was initially given top priority, but after the woman refused to have paramedics come to her home for medical care her call was downgraded, according to the records.

The victim at one point told a dispatcher she had refused medical treatment because she was worried about paying an ambulance bill. The woman, who has difficulty with her sight, then called police again and asked if she could take a shower. The dispatcher advised her not to in order to preserve evidence.

Ninety minutes after the first call, a dispatcher notified the supervisor that no squad car had been sent to the woman's house. The sergeant said that squads were busy with other calls, according to the records obtained by the newspaper. Another hour and 20 minutes passed and the victim called again, asking if a squad car was coming.

After three hours and six minutes, a squad responded and the woman was taken to a sexual assault treatment center.

Police spokesman Lt. Mark Stanmeyer said the case is under review.

"The Milwaukee Police Department is reviewing both our dispatch prioritization protocol and the handling of this specific call for service to ensure policy was followed and determine whether policy revision is needed, as the time from the initial call to the police and the dispatch of a squad was excessive," he said.

About a year ago, Police Chief Edward Flynn vowed to improve response times after it took officers 22 minutes to respond to the report of a fatal stabbing. At the time, police said they were investigating a separate stabbing in which the response also was delayed.

Stephen Ray Robinson, a 28-year-old from Milwaukee, was charged Friday with two counts of sexual assault and one count of aggravated battery. The complaint says he admitted to attacking the woman and told police he walked away when she started yelling for God. Online court records don't list an attorney for Robinson.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com