Two New Orleans Cops Fired and One Suspended in Post-Katrina Taped Beating Case
12-21-2005 5:28 PM
By MARY FOSTER, Associated Press Writer
NEW ORLEANS -- Two officers were fired Wednesday for a beating in the French Quarter shortly after Hurricane Katrina that was photographed and videotaped by The Associated Press. A third officer was suspended.
A union official vowed to fight the firings of officers Robert Evangelist and Lance Schilling for their role in the beating of 64-year-old Robert Davis. Officer Stuart Smith was suspended for 120 days.
The officers' lawyer said the department rushed the firings. Ordinarily, said attorney Frank DeSalvo, a dismissal occurs only after an officer has been tried on criminal charges.
"They never thought they'd get a fair shake from this department," DeSalvo said. "The guys fully expected what happened to happen."
The confrontation renewed longstanding allegations of racism, brutality and corruption in the New Orleans Police Deparment. The three officers are white, and Davis is black. Davis said he does not believe race was an issue in the beating.
Evangelist and Schilling were accused of battery against Davis. Smith was accused of battery against a reporter. All three officers had been suspended without pay since the incident. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and face trial Jan. 11.
The police union disagreed with the firings and said it would appeal to the Civil Service Commission.
"This case became highly publicized through the media," union president Lt. David Benelli said. "In light of the worldwide media frenzy these officers were placed under, it was impossible for them to receive a fair investigation."
After seeing the video of the beating, police Superintendent Warren Riley called the officers' actions unacceptable _ comments Benelli said interfered with their ability to get a fair investigation by the police internal affairs division.
Davis' attorney, Joseph Bruno, did not return a call for comment.
DeSalvo has said that the video of the confrontation does not give the whole story.
Davis, a retired elementary school teacher who returned to the storm-struck city to check on his properties, said he was searching for cigarettes in the French Quarter when police grabbed him.
The Associated Press Television News tape shows an officer hitting Davis at least four times on the head. Davis appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers.
One of the officers kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was face-down on the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter.
Smith ordered APTN producer Rich Matthews and the cameraman to stop recording. When Matthews held up his credentials, the officer grabbed the producer, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.
Davis later pleaded not guilty to charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation.
The video shows two FBI agents, in town to help with post-Katrina patrols, joining the New Orleans police in subduing Davis. Their role in the incident is being investigated by federal officials.
A federal civil rights investigation also was launched.
What about the looting cops?
I guess they're off the hook......both having been on film.
The only difference between the two......and no, its the the color of their uniform, but......
Its too bad......hopefully some other department can pick them up, as when the SHTF, at least those 2 officers, stayed behind.
Can't say much about the hundreds of others.....
Fuck them. What the hell could a 64 year old do to justify the way they reacted?
Lets not forget how many of those "missing" NOLA cops didn't even fucking exsist to begin with!
They are black and can not be fired w/o a lawsuit and a bunch of PC types suing the agency, whereas the cops on tape are white so its ok
are you fucking kidding me?! Have you seen the video of what they did to that 60+ year old "drunk" man? They beat him too a fucking bloody pulp. Fuckers should be charged... and they are.