It was a little before 8 a.m. Sunday when Kevin Diggs walked up to a woman out for a morning stroll in Bywater and told her he wanted to chat.
The woman told him to leave her alone and walked away, but Diggs, 20, followed her as she changed her route to try to evade him, according to her husband and court documents.
Then, near Press and Chartres streets, Diggs ran up behind the 33-year-old woman and grabbed her. Police allege he choked her and dragged her across the street to a grassy field and began to assault her until he saw a witness watching them.
Although Diggs tried to run away, that witness trailed him, leading to his arrest. Later that day, Diggs was booked with second-degree battery.
A police report, filed at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, details the incident.
According to the document, the victim was choked from behind and was dragged from the corner to a nearby overgrown, grassy area. Diggs then forced her to the ground and placed her in a choke hold until she lost consciousness, the report says.
As she began to regain consciousness, the woman was “certain” Diggs was patting her pockets or fondling her, so she offered him her wallet, according to the report.
At that point, a man driving by in a sport-utility vehicle noticed the commotion. Diggs saw him, according to the police report, and ran away without taking any of the victim’s belongings.
Diggs began to walk north on Press Street but was tailed by the witness, who confronted him when they reached Royal and St. Ferdinand streets, where a Harbor Police officer, flagged down by another witness, was able to arrest Diggs.
The officer took Diggs back to the scene, where the victim identified him as her attacker. New Orleans police arrived a short time later.
Although police booked him only on a count of second-degree battery, the victim’s husband said he and his wife plan to meet with the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office to determine whether sexual-assault or attempted-murder charges should be brought against Diggs.
“I want a case that sticks. I want to see him put away forever,” the victim’s husband said, noting that he is “not pointing any fingers at anyone other than the criminal.”
Diggs remained in jail Tuesday. His bail was set at $25,000. He also was issued a stay-away order, prohibiting him from getting in contact with the victim should he post bond.
Diggs has no prior criminal record in Orleans Parish.
Staff writer Dan Lawton contributed to this report.