Protesters rally at rapist New Orleans police officer’s arraignment
New Orleans, LA – On October 11, at 9 a.m., protesters attended Gerry Paul’s arraignment. Paul, 29, is an active-duty police officer charged with second-degree rape. Protesters in the courtroom wore red, turned their backs on Paul when he pled “not guilty,” and held signs saying “Jail Gerry!” They then organized a rally outside the Orleans Criminal Courthouse.
On March 15, 2021, a woman accused Paul of forcing her into non-consensual sex after a night of drinks at his apartment on the 4300 block of Tulane Avenue. She recounted that Paul choked her and pinned her hands behind her back in a police hold. A forensic medical examination found bruises on the back of her throat consistent with choking. His firearm was on the nightstand during the incident.
The woman’s rape kit went untested for 16 months. The woman herself is a crime scene technician. It was only after the Times-Picayune reported on this delay that her kit was tested in August 2021. He was arrested in September and released on a $25,000 bond. It was only on Tuesday that prosecutors filed a protective order prohibiting Paul’s contact with the survivor. Considering the injustice in this case alone, it’s hard to imagine how the system treats other sexual assault survivors in the city, who do not work for the crime lab.
The police affidavit for Paul’s warrant reports that he said, “it was too good to stop.” This man remains on patrol in the 5th District.
After taking their stand in the courtroom, protesters stood at the busy Tulane and Broad Street corner. They chanted “How do you spell rapist? N-O-P-D!” and “When sex offenders are on patrol, what do we demand? Community control!”
Toni Mar of New Orleans for Community Oversight of the Police (NOCOP) explained the details of the night of the crime. They criticized the NOPD for not taking action against Paul, and demanded community control of the police to hold officers like Paul accountable.
Ed Abraham spoke for Real Name Campaign NOLA, criticizing the city for planning on giving more funds to the NOPD. He called for New Orleans to fund civilian resources for sexual assault survivors, such as rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters.
Protesters handed out flyers explaining to drivers and pedestrians, who were appalled by the story and echoed the demand to jail Gerry Paul. One passerby noted that he was touched by the action, thinking of how his mother and sisters could be vulnerable to this officer.
The Real Name Campaign is planning a Town Hall Against Gender Violence for November 5, starting 1 p.m. at the LGBT Community Center, 2727 S Broad Street. The town hall will discuss what the city should be doing to protect women and LGBTQ people. For more information on the event, email them at [email protected]. NOCOP is continuing the struggle for real oversight of police, and they can be reached on Instagram @nocop and on their website, www.nocop.org.