Big Easy Beat-Down

Here we go again. As if the subjects of race and brutality haven’t been played out enough in the wake of hurricane Katrina, we now have video of a news story we’ll probably hear more about in the coming week. Todd points to a video of New Orleans policemen beating a 64 year old African American man who doesn’t appear to be resisting arrest.

See the video here. If this link doesn’t work, try the link at the CNN story.

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. One of the four 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.

The man was charged with public intoxication. (Maybe it’s me, but is being publicly intoxicated on Bourbon Street really that much of a big deal?) At one point you can see a policeman punching him in the face, as a policeman on horseback attempts to place himself and his horse between the camera and the ongoing beat-down. Later you can see about four police on the handcuffed man.

The officers, according to the report, are to be suspended, arrested, and charged with simple battery. And there will be a criminal investigation. It will be interesting to see how this story pans out, and what — if anything — comes of it. The video, of course, invokes similar incidents from the past, but it remains to be see what the rest of the story really is.

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About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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