Police Beating in New Orleans Caught on Tape


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Nightfall
October 9, 2005, 06:32 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1198122
Two New Orleans Police Officers Videotaped Punching 64-Year-Old Man; Another Hit APTN Producer

By MARY FOSTER
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS - Two New Orleans police officers repeatedly punched a 64-year-old man accused of public intoxication, and another city officer assaulted an Associated Press Television News producer as a cameraman taped the confrontations.

There will be a criminal investigation, and the three officers were to be suspended, arrested and charged with simple battery Sunday, Capt. Marlon Defillo said.

"We have great concern with what we saw this morning," Defillo said after he and about a dozen other high-ranking police department officials watched the APTN footage Sunday. "It's a troubling tape, no doubt about it. ... This department will take immediate action."

The assaults come as the department, long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption, struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.

The APTN tape shows an officer hitting the man at least four times in the head Saturday night as he stood outside a bar near Bourbon Street. The suspect, Robert Davis, appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers. Another of the four officers then kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was face-down on the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter.

Meanwhile, a fifth officer ordered APTN producer Rich Matthews and the cameraman to stop recording. When Matthews held up his credentials and explained he was working, the officer grabbed the producer, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.

"I've been here for six weeks trying to keep ... alive. ... Go home!" shouted the officer, who later identified himself as S.M. Smith.

Police said Davis, 64, of New Orleans, was booked on public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation. He was treated at a hospital and released into police custody.

A mug shot of Davis, provided by a jailer, showed him with his right eye swollen shut, an apparent abrasion on the left side of his neck and a cut on his right temple.

"The incidents taped by our cameraman are extremely troubling," said Mike Silverman, AP's managing editor. "We are heartened that the police department is taking them seriously and promising a thorough investigation."

Davis, who is black, was subdued at the intersection of Conti and Bourbon streets. Three of the officers appeared to be white, and the other is light skinned. The officer who hit Matthews is white. Defillo said race was not an issue.

Three of the five officers including Smith are New Orleans officers, and two others appeared to be federal officers. Numerous agencies have sent police to help with patrols in the aftermath of Katrina.

Under normal circumstances, it takes unusually offensive behavior to trigger an arrest on Bourbon Street. But New Orleans police have been working under stressful conditions since the hurricane.

Officers slept in their cars and worked 24-hour shifts after the storm. Three-quarters lost their homes and their families are scattered across the country.

"Our police officers are working under some very trying times," Defillo said. "So it's a difficult time, but it doesn't excuse what our jobs are supposed to be."

Many officers deserted their posts in the days after Katrina, and some were accused of joining in the looting that broke out. At least two committed suicide.

Conditions have improved officers now have beds on a cruise ship but they don't have private rooms and are still working five, 12-hour days.

Compass, the police superintendent, resigned Sept. 27. Despite more than 10 years of reform efforts dating to before he took office, police were dogged by allegations of brutality and corruption.

On Friday, state authorities said they were investigating allegations that New Orleans police broke into a dealership and made off with nearly 200 cars including 41 new Cadillacs as the storm closed in.


Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures

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insidious_calm
October 9, 2005, 07:16 PM
For those who are still wondering what's going on in Amerika these days I'll give you a hint, <whisper>The police are at war with the citizens.</whisper> We just aren't at war with them yet. At the rate they're going it shouldn't be long though.

Edit to add:

For those who don't want to believe it's really that bad, I simply ask you to look around. Look on here, look at the links to some other threads posted on here. Look at the "Us vs. Them" mentality that is RAMPANT among all LE agencies local, state, and federal. Look at the way they speak of the citizens, you and me, with sheer contempt and hatred in their voices. IMO it will continue to get worse until one day the violence eminates from both sides, not just them. They could stop it if they wanted to. They could police themselves. They won't. Nothing ever gets done unless it's on tape and they have to "sacrafice a few lambs" as it were in order to save the flock. Think about all that goes on that isn't on tape. The honest officers, few though they may be, won't do anything about it. We're hosed.


I.C.

Jim March
October 9, 2005, 07:19 PM
Man, is that department ever screwed NOW.

Every media outlet will turn on them, all PR guns blazing.

There is an unwritten rule to reporting that says "don't physically attack the media". They wouldn't be safe if they let that sort of thing slide. They're going to hammer that police department like nothing we've ever seen before, on every issue, for YEARS.

Baba Louie
October 9, 2005, 07:30 PM
The police are at war with the citizens ;)
How about the Police are at war with criminal types, unsafe drivers and the occasional bystander (who may or may not have been so-innocent... I wasn't there, how am I and who am I to judge?) who is now "OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE". (Ain't that a great one to prove if you're the "innocent bystander" and it's your word against three or four "sworn" officers?)

It does appear, however, that on the surface, that when taken as a whole, the NOPD does seem to have a bit more... er, problematic action by a few individuals (who may or may not actually be sworn officers?) than your average American City Police Department.

Yeah, you light up a correspondent and his camera crew... you're going to be under the "scope" for a while by a lot of news crews. Not gonna be a pretty picture on the evening news, methinks.

akluvr
October 9, 2005, 07:42 PM
These guys are going to have to get in line for the next investigation, sounds like. I understand the whole "these fella's are working long hours and their nerves are frayed" noise, but the first duty when you swear in is to the Constitution of the U.S.. Several years back, almost 50% of the N.O. dept. was fired, from the top down, in a huge fed investigation. It was found that the officers were being paid less than 1/2 of the national average wage for law enforcement. Bribes, drugs, and prostitution were the name of the game- all being run from cruisers and city hall, fortifying the low pay that they felt that they were receiving. I understand the whole complication of uprooting your family for a job, but I don't understand the whole "everyboby else is doing it" mentality. The first investigation should be at the mayors office and then see what the trickle down effect produces.

Sistema1927
October 9, 2005, 08:25 PM
I thought that this was the High Road, not the "slam all police officers" forum.

Yes, there are bad cops, and there are good cops who make bad calls, but recently all that I read here degenerates into a quagmire of loathing against those who wear a badge.

I have been very, very troubled at some of the things I have read here recently, and wonder whether I would be better served finding a different community.

waterhouse
October 9, 2005, 08:47 PM
I'll say two things.

First, as much as we bash the media, I feel that this is one of its most useful purposes. They videotaped an unlawful act, at their own personal risk, and because of that some folks (who otherwise might have walked) will be punished.

Second, although I have had the bad luck to have many run ins with police (I'm not too far out of college and we used to throw some pretty fantastic parties in a mostly residential neighborhood, plus I tend to drive faster than I should) I have had the good luck to only have met with police that believe their job is to protect and serve, who are not on an ego trip, who were most likely not bullies in high school searching to use their power.

Do I think some cops are law breakers and liars? You bet; in the same way that some lawyers, contractors, CEOs, and firearms dealers are law breakers and liars. I wish that all of them get punished to the full extent of the law, but I'm mainly with Sistema. . .there is a lot of cop bashing here.

As gun owners, we get upset whenever the media/brady group/gun control group lumps us in the same sentence as the Columbine kids/criminals/etc. Can we please stop doing the same to cops?

Anyhow, I hope these guys get what's coming to them. And I hope that all the good cops out there keep their good names despite this incident.

gunsmith
October 9, 2005, 09:01 PM
I had to get physical in San Francisco to get some peace and quiet.
the same bum , for weeks and weeks stood near my window and loudly harrassed people for money.
I asked and asked him to leave, I asked the police for help and got none (in SF homeless loud miscreants are given carte blanche to harass working folks)
I had to take matters into my own hands , I had to, as I couldn't afford to move.
the only thing this jerk would respond to was violence.
I suspect the same with the drunk the cop was dealing with.
imho the cops mistake was getting physical with the liberal reporter.
I say give the cop a break, it has got to be difficult and this cop stayed on the job while others left.
i bet the smelly bum will get a settlement and get arrested for being drunk and stupid a year later having spent all the money he won in court :barf:

EddieCoyle
October 9, 2005, 09:03 PM
Wow. Who'd've thought the N.O. police department could end up on the wrong side of the law?

Standing Wolf
October 9, 2005, 09:04 PM
The article didn't explain why it was all Bush's fault. I suppose that'll be in the big analysis stories in the national "news" media tomorrow.

Warbow
October 9, 2005, 09:54 PM
For those who are still wondering what's going on in Amerika these days I'll give you a hint, <whisper>The police are at war with the citizens.</whisper> We just aren't at war with them yet. At the rate they're going it shouldn't be long though.

Edit to add:

For those who don't want to believe it's really that bad, I simply ask you to look around. Look on here, look at the links to some other threads posted on here. Look at the "Us vs. Them" mentality that is RAMPANT among all LE agencies local, state, and federal. Look at the way they speak of the citizens, you and me, with sheer contempt and hatred in their voices. IMO it will continue to get worse until one day the violence eminates from both sides, not just them. They could stop it if they wanted to. They could police themselves. They won't. Nothing ever gets done unless it's on tape and they have to "sacrafice a few lambs" as it were in order to save the flock. Think about all that goes on that isn't on tape. The honest officers, few though they may be, won't do anything about it. We're hosed.

:rolleyes:

Molon Labe
October 9, 2005, 10:07 PM
This article seems all the more appropriate now:

http://www.thefrag.org/pics/LEO_article.pdf

M-Rex
October 9, 2005, 10:38 PM
Oh good. More THR cop bashing. Cool.

Look at the "Us vs. Them" mentality that is RAMPANT among all LE agencies local, state, and federal.
Right. It never happens the other way around. No sir-ee.

Jim March
October 10, 2005, 02:22 AM
Molon Labe: good article.

I've had personal and detailed encounters with genuinely crooked cops myself...and I'm not talking about the sheriffs and police chiefs selling gun permits in California, that's a "special case" that I only know about because I'm an activist.

Alex45ACP
October 10, 2005, 05:46 AM
I really liked how the oinker on horseback tried to block the cameraman from taping the incident :rolleyes:

The assault on the reporter by the fat cop is also unacceptable.

greg700
October 10, 2005, 06:33 AM
I just saw the video on the morning news. Plus they had footage from another reporter looking down on a balcony which showed the man covered in blood, laying on the ground, getting kicked every time he tried to turn over.

Hopefully this won't end well for the NO police department. Especially since they are failing to strongly condemn what happenned.

Camp David
October 10, 2005, 07:57 AM
Every one of these "beatings" seems to reveal a central thesis: Police use brutality when the need arises, on whoever they wish...four or five police beating a 64-year old drunk means stupidity on the officer's part, nothing less. While each incident is different in certain respects, the general idea is that police can assume the brutality pose against helpless or indifferent citizens when they wish. If this were a Third World dictatorship such police tactics would be acceptable, but we are not... such police need only one thing: termination; rapid, prompt, and certain.

kahr40
October 10, 2005, 10:21 AM
I can't see any justification for that beating with the odds present. At least one officer knew what was hapening was wrong or he wouldn't have tried to block the cameraman with his horse.

Old Partner
October 10, 2005, 10:39 AM
One of these days we are going to take back the streets from these armed thugs. And since they are so woefully outnumbered, it will be fairly short. Yes, they have radios and backup, but they are still really outnumbered. COPS SUCK!!!

antarti
October 10, 2005, 10:49 AM
Lets see what the corollary looks like:


NEW ORLEANS - Two New Orleans residents repeatedly punched a 64-year-old officer accused of harassing them, and another city resident assaulted an Associated Press Television News producer as a cameraman taped the confrontations.

There will be a criminal investigation, and the three residents were to be arrested and charged with simple battery Sunday, neighborhood watch Capt. Marlon Defillo said.

"We have great concern with what we saw this morning," Defillo said after he and about a dozen other high-ranking community members watched the APTN footage Sunday. "It's a troubling tape, no doubt about it. ... This neighborhood will take immediate action."

The assaults come as the police, long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption, struggle with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.

The APTN tape shows a resident hitting the officer at least four times in the head Saturday night as he stood outside a bar near Bourbon Street. The officer, Robert Davis, appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four residents. Another of the four residents then kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was face-down on the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter.

Meanwhile, a fifth resident ordered APTN producer Rich Matthews and the cameraman to stop recording. When Matthews held up his credentials and explained he was working, the resident grabbed the producer, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.

"I've been here for six weeks trying to keep ... alive. ... Go home!" shouted the resident, who later identified himself as S.M. Smith.

Neighborhood watch reps said officer Davis, 64, of New Orleans, was given a citizens arrest for public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a resident and public intimidation. He was treated at a hospital and released into residential custody.

A mug shot of Davis, provided by a jailer, showed him with his right eye swollen shut, an apparent abrasion on the left side of his neck and a cut on his right temple.

"The incidents taped by our cameraman are extremely troubling," said Mike Silverman, AP's managing editor. "We are heartened that the residents are taking them seriously and promising a thorough self-investigation."

Davis, who is black, was subdued at the intersection of Conti and Bourbon streets. Three of the residents appeared to be white, and the other is light skinned. The resident who hit Matthews is white. Defillo said race was not an issue.

Three of the five residents including Smith are New Orleans natives, and two others appeared to be DC residents. Numerous communities have sent residents to help with patrols in the aftermath of Katrina.

Under normal circumstances, it takes unusually offensive behavior to trigger an arrest on Bourbon Street. But New Orleans residents have been working under stressful conditions since the hurricane.

Residents slept in their cars or attics and worked 24-hour shifts after the storm. Three-quarters lost their homes and their families are scattered across the country.

"Our residents are working under some very trying times," Defillo said. "So it's a difficult time, but it doesn't excuse what our behavior is supposed to be."

Many residents fled in the days after Katrina, and some were who stayed were accused of joining in the looting that broke out. At least two committed suicide.

Conditions have improved residents now have beds on a cruise ship but they don't have private rooms and are still working five to seven, 24-hour days.

Compass, the police superintendent, resigned Sept. 27. Despite more than 10 years of reform efforts dating to before he took office, police were dogged by allegations of brutality and corruption.

On Friday, state authorities said they were investigating allegations that New Orleans police broke into a dealership and made off with nearly 200 cars including 41 new Cadillacs as the storm closed in.


Sure, give the residents simple battery...

Edmond
October 10, 2005, 10:58 AM
Could you imagine how many incidents aren't captured on tape? And for those victims, there is almost no proof that the cops acted unlawfully.

There have been a lot of problems in NOPD for many years. I say they should wipe the slate clean and start over again.

tulsamal
October 10, 2005, 11:03 AM
Do I think some cops are law breakers and liars? You bet; in the same way that some lawyers, contractors, CEOs, and firearms dealers are law breakers and liars. I wish that all of them get punished to the full extent of the law, but I'm mainly with Sistema. . .there is a lot of cop bashing here.

As gun owners, we get upset whenever the media/brady group/gun control group lumps us in the same sentence as the Columbine kids/criminals/etc. Can we please stop doing the same to cops?

I agree with your sentiment and I try hard to keep it in mind. But I think the problem is the old "one 'aw crap' nullfies one thousand 'atta boys.' " You can see and interact with lots of police and not give it much thought. But you only have to have one incident laying face down in gravel while a deputy points a Glock at you and repeatedly tells you he "WILL kill you if you do anything wrong" to lose that warm fuzzy feeling.

It doesn't do any good to tell somebody who has experienced that that "the good cops are in the vast majority." It only takes one bad cop on his own to kill you or a member of your family! (Yes, I did have it happen to me less than 100 yards from my rural home.) The bad experience stays with you. It leads to you being very suspicious of the police. And that's certainly not helped by the infamous "circle the wagons" approach that usually happens when a citizen dares to complain about a cop's actions. Suddenly the citizen is the bad guy facing a bunch of "brother cops" plus the city plus the county plus all their attorneys. It just reinforces the "us versus them" attitude.

I'm _trying_ to trust my local Sheriff's deparment since I know the elected Sheriff and _some_ of the Deputies are doing the best they can. But it only takes the abusive actions of one person to create a lifetime of distrust. This is why the police HAVE to be "above reproach." When they aren't, the whole system falls apart.

Gregg

Telperion
October 10, 2005, 11:08 AM
NOPD assaulting citizens? Things must be getting back to normal in the Big Easy. :D

Island Beretta
October 10, 2005, 11:12 AM
..fur sure.. :barf:

AZRickD
October 10, 2005, 11:45 AM
How about the Police are at war with criminal types, unsafe drivers and the occasional bystander
I might buy that argument, if it weren't for all the laws they enforce which target non-violent folks like you and me. How are the gun laws in your state?

Rick

tulsamal
October 10, 2005, 11:55 AM
How about the Police are at war with criminal types, unsafe drivers and the occasional bystander

I might buy that argument, if it weren't for all the laws they enforce which target non-violent folks like you and me. How are the gun laws in your state?

Yeah, I've never even had a traffic _warning_ much less a ticket but that didn't stop my local deputy from pointing his Glock directly at my head and threatening to kill me numerous times! It's not a good feeling while you are laying face down in the gravel. As you realize there are no witnesses at all for as far as the eye can see. I would have been VERY happy to have a media guy with a camera nearby right at that moment!

Here's a link to the original thread I started about it right after it happened.

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=80795

Gregg

Beren
October 10, 2005, 12:44 PM
COPS SUCK!!!

Please take the anti-cop rants elsewhere. They are not welcome here. It's a shame when threads become another soapbox for the rabid. You are welcome to discuss specific events if you can do so without launching into Yet Another Moonbat Tale Of Why We Need An Anti-Cop Jihad.

SOME COPS ARE CORRUPT. Duh. Some segment of every profession is corrupt.

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