Washington — Connecticut state Rep. Maryam Khan called for an investigation of the Hartford Police Department on Thursday, saying no one came to the aid of her and her family as they screamed for help duringfollowing Eid al-Adha services in Hartford.
“I thought I was going to die,” Khan said at a news conference in the capital. “We screamed inside and outside and no one came to our aid — no security, no police, nobody.”
Khan said there were police at the XL Center, where the service for the Muslim holiday was held, when she arrived earlier in the day, and that they were doing security checks with metal detectors.
“But when we were screaming for help, nobody came. It cannot be that broken,” she said, calling for the Justice Department to investigate the Hartford police’s response to violent crime.
The suspect was chased and subdued by bystanders until he was ultimately arrested by police, who identified him as 30-year-old Andrey Desmond. He is facing charges of third-degree assault, second-degree unlawful restraint, second-degree breach of peace and interfering with police.
Speaking for the first time in detail about the attack, Khan said she was approached by a man as she was taking photos of her children outside the venue. Khan, who was also with her sister and friend, said the man came “too close for my comfort” and “he made comments stating that he intended to have sexual relations” with one of the females in the group, including her daughters.
The man followed them into the building as they tried to get away. He grabbed Khan’s face and said, “Give me a kiss,” according to Khan.
Khan said she went back outside to lead the man away from her children. He again tried to grab her, then slapped her face when she dodged him, she said.
“My friend followed us outside, was screaming [at the] top of her lungs, yelling for help,” Khan said. “There were people — men — that were there that saw, that did not intervene.”
Khan said the man then put her in a chokehold and slammed her to the ground.
“I shot up and ran for my life,” she said in tears, describing how security in the building put her family in a safe room until police asked her to give a statement.
Khan was brought back to the site of the incident to describe what happened. She said she was given no medical attention until she asked for it and felt “that I had to convince them that I was injured.” She said she was later diagnosed with a concussion and has no feeling in her right shoulder and arm. She also faulted police for not walking her family back to their car to ensure they got there safely.
“What was the most difficult these last few days was seeing that the police report did not reflect everything or anything that happened to me,” Khan said. “This person came up to us and asked for a kiss. That’s all. There were no children. This was not an Eid day. I was not a Muslim. That’s what’s in the report.”
The police report given to CBS News a day after the attack said the suspect approached a woman and began making “unwanted advances.” The suspect then allegedly tried to prevent her from leaving the area and assaulted her. She suffered minor injuries, according to police.
“All I kept thinking about these last few days is what happens to women in the city of Hartford that call the police when they are assaulted, when they experience what I experienced, when they experience sexual assault, when they experience physical assault. What happens? Because if this is what is happening to me, and this is the best we can do, as a state representative that represents the city of Hartford, I cannot be OK with that,” she said.
CBS News has reached out to the Hartford Police Department for comment.