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NOPD Lawyer: Tape Doesn't Tell Whole Story

TimmyBoy

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Ahh, so the man arrested by NOPD officers admits to being a substance abuser:

NOPD Lawyer: Tape Doesn't Tell Whole Tale By ROSS SNEYD, Associated Press Writer
9 minutes ago



NEW ORLEANS - A police union official and a lawyer for officers accused in the beating of a retired teacher on Wednesday sharply disputed the man's contention he was brutalized during his arrest, which was captured on video.

Attorney Frank DeSalvo said the video shows a truncated version of the Saturday night arrest and he disputed details the video shot by Associated Press Television News appears to have captured, including whether the 64-year-old suspect was punched in the face.

"I see an incident of a man trying to be brought under control who doesn't want to be brought under control," DeSalvo said.

The man who was beaten, Robert Davis, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation.

Davis has described himself as a recovering substance abuser who has not had a drink in 25 years. His lawyer asked prosecutors to dismiss charges, but his trial was set for Jan. 18.

The two city officers accused in the beating, and a third accused of grabbing and shoving an APTN producer, are due to go on trial on battery charges a week before Davis' trial.

Davis' lawyer, Joseph Bruno, said the APTN videotape of the confrontation shows his client being brutalized by police for no reason. After the arraignment, however, leaders of the city's police union offered their own interpretations.

Police union officials described Davis as so intoxicated that he staggered down the street, stumbled into a police horse and became belligerent when officers intervened.

DeSalvo said police union officials had "broken the thing down frame by frame" and saw officers trying to bring under control an angry man. "He brought it on by his actions," DeSalvo said.

No tests for intoxication were administered following the arrest. In such cases, judges typically rely on officers' observations, said police spokesman Marlon Defillo.

The officers involved in the incident — Lance Schilling, Robert Evangelist and S.M. Smith — did not speak during the news conference. DeSalvo said Schilling and Evangelist hit Davis' shoulders, and he denied the arrest was as violent as has been portrayed.

"He clearly was not hit in the face," DeSalvo said.

DeSalvo also disputed Davis' lawyer's contention that Davis suffered fractures to his cheek and eye socket. DeSalvo said the injuries were scrapes caused when he was placed face down on the pavement.

The three officers have been suspended without pay. Lt. David Benelli, president of the police union, said the suspensions would be appealed, although that's been delayed by a city government stalled in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Davis did not speak to reporters after his arraignment. He has said he approached a mounted police officer to ask about the city's curfew while searching for cigarettes on Bourbon Street and a confrontation ensued with another officer.

DeSalvo also claimed that APTN producer Rich Matthews grabbed Smith and spun him around before the officer responded by pushing the producer away from the arrest.

The video shows that when Matthews held up his media credentials, the officer shoved him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.

Matthews, who was not charged, disputed DeSalvo's account and said he never touched the officer.

A Department of Homeland Security official, meanwhile, said the agency would look into allegations by two hurricane relief volunteers who accuse federal officials of mistreating them after they saw Davis being beaten.

University of South Florida student Calvin Briles, 21, said that when law enforcement tried to clear bystanders from the area, he said, "I want to tell somebody about this."

Briles told the Bradenton Herald a man wearing a U.S. Customs vest then grabbed him, threw him against a car, pressed his head against the hood and told him, "It's none of your business."

Fellow USF student Mike Monaghan, 22, told the paper he was handled roughly after he tried to pick up a cell phone Briles dropped in the confrontation and that a police horse then nudged his head. An unidentified official grabbed him from behind and asked him why he hit the horse, he said.

Both men were handcuffed but neither was charged, although Briles said officials read him a handful of charges before eventually letting him go.

"We felt violated," Briles said.

Wade Thompson, the students' lawyer, said when contacted by the AP that his clients had no additional comment.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Marc Raimondi said Wednesday that the Homeland Security Department's inspector general would look into the complaint.

The APTN videotape that included Davis' encounter with police also captured events similar to those described by Briles and Monaghan, including shots of a man who resembles Briles.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051012/ap_on_re_us/new_orleans_taped_beating
 

scottyz

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Even if he was drunk and resisting arrest they still don't get the right to beat him and the camera man...
 

TimmyBoy

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scottyz said:
Even if he was drunk and resisting arrest they still don't get the right to beat him and the camera man...
You are right about that. Generally, you have the right to videotape the police in the official performance of duties so long as you are not "interfering."
 

Donkey1499

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The excessive force was not needed, the swearing wasn't needed, and using the horse to block the camera was also not needed. What were the cops trying to hide when they put the horse in the way? I saw the video, and ya they didn't hit the man in the face, but they were punching the back of his head which caused his face to hit the wall.
 

TimmyBoy

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Donkey1499 said:
The excessive force was not needed, the swearing wasn't needed, and using the horse to block the camera was also not needed. What were the cops trying to hide when they put the horse in the way? I saw the video, and ya they didn't hit the man in the face, but they were punching the back of his head which caused his face to hit the wall.
I would want to know all the facts of the case first before making a judgement call. The black community was up in arms over Rodney King, but the public didn't know he was strung up drugs, had ran from the police and then when they got him stopped he was resisting arrest and that is why those cops were acquitted at their state trial. If their was no Rodney King riots, their would have been no federal trial for those police officers. My view, was that they filed federal charges on the police officers after their acquittal at their state trial as a slick way of getting around double jeopardy and handing a conviction that the black community wanted. It was more to appease political pressure rather than allowing the way the system is supposed to be ran, run it's course. These cops could very well be guilty, but I certainly would want to know ALL the facts before rushing to judgement on a videotape much like alot of people did when Rodney King was caught on tape getting beat.
 
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