A woman was found hurt and semi-conscious on a street in north central early Saturday morning, but Regina police didn’t advise the public about three suspects in the sexual assault until Tuesday afternoon.
Police say the woman had been walking down Athol Street near 3rd Avenue at 1 a.m. when she was allegedly pulled into a silver car then driven to an unknown location where she was sexually assaulted. Officers found her on Garnet Street and 6th Avenue at 6:45 a.m.
So why was there a delay in telling the public about a serious sexual assault?
Elizabeth Popowich is the manager of public information for the Regina Police Service. She says police wanted to make medical attention a priority before proceeding with a formal interview with the victim.
“Then taking the time when it’s possible to interview the victim further and gain more information, because without some kind of information, it’s difficult to know what you’re advising the public of,” Popowich said.
She could not clarify which day the interview took place before the release of the information on Tuesday, June 14.
She says they have to find the balance between concern for public safety with the duty to gather information and assess it.
“I think from the public’s perspective, perhaps they feel we can never move quickly enough, but we also have to be able to say that we’ve done some investigation before we rush into causing alarm,” Popowich commented.
News Talk Radio then asked why police wouldn’t at least say a woman was found hurt on the street in North Central at 6:45 a.m. and that more details would be released as the investigation proceeded.
Popowich responded that releasing the basic information would likely lead to follow-up questions and calls from the media and the public, asking for more details.
“I think that without more information to give then you’re just creating frustration and speculation,” she said.
When asked how the police respond to women who may be concerned that there are three suspects in a serious sexual assault on the loose in the city without their knowledge, Popowich noted that police always advise people to take safety precautions and be on the lookout for suspicious activity.
She noted that every case is different and there is no perfect right answer to how police choose to handle these scenarios.
The first suspect in the sexual assault is described as East Indian, about 5’8″, in his early 30s thicker build, with a thin beard. He was wearing a grey silky smooth workout shirt, blue jeans, and a grey belt.
The second suspect is described as East Indian, in his earlier 30s, with a unibrow, wearing a white shirt, and blue and white shorts.
The third suspect is East Indian, about 5’4″, in his early 30s, and was wearing a black shirt.