NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A 64-year-old man who was repeatedly punched in the head by police in an incident caught on videotape was not drunk, as police have alleged, and put up no resistance as he was being pummeled, his lawyer said Monday.
The man, a retired elementary school teacher, had returned to New Orleans only to check on property he owns in the storm-ravaged city, and was out looking to buy cigarettes when he was arrested Saturday night in the French Quarter, the lawyer and the man's father said.
Police have alleged that Robert Davis was publicly intoxicated.
A federal civil rights investigation was opened into the incident. Davis is black. The three city police officers seen on the tape are white. Police spokesman Marlon Defillo said race was not an issue.
Two city officers accused in the beating, and a third officer accused of grabbing and shoving an Associated Press Television News producer who helped document the confrontation, pleaded not guilty on Monday to battery charges.
After a hearing at which trial was set for Jan. 11, officers Lance Schilling, Robert Evangelist and S.M. Smith were released on bond. They left in cars without commenting.
The three were suspended without pay Sunday, Defillo said.
Police Superintendent Warren Riley said any misconduct would be dealt with swiftly. He noted the video showed ``a portion of that incident.''
``The actions that were observed on this video are certainly unacceptable by this department,'' Riley said.
Two other officials in the video appeared to be federal officers, according to police. Numerous agencies have sent officers to help with patrols in the aftermath of Katrina.
Stephen Kodak, an FBI spokesman in Washington, said none of its agents had been disciplined. He said the FBI was taking part in the Justice Department's civil rights probe.
The confrontation came as the New Orleans Police Department - long plagued by allegations of brutality and corruption - struggles with the aftermath of Katrina and the resignation last month of Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.
The APTN tape shows an officer hitting Davis at least four times in the head outside a bar. Davis twisted and flailed as he was dragged to the ground by several officers. Davis's lawyer said his client did not resist.
``I don't think that when a person is getting beat up there's a whole lot of thought. It's survival. You don't have a whole lot of time to think when you're being pummeled,'' Bruno said.
Davis was kneed and pushed to the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter. The officers accused of striking Davis were identified as Schilling and Evangelist.
Bruno said his client suffered fractures to his cheek and eye socket, and scrapes and bruises, but was expected to recover.
He added that his client was a recovering narcotics abuser who hadn't had a drink or taken drugs in ``years and years. He was not taking anything.''
Davis is a retired teacher who has lived in New Orleans for about 30 years, said his father, David Davis, 87, of Columbus, Ohio.
The elder Davis said his son had gone to New Orleans over the weekend to visit his own house and a couple of others that he owns with his wife, also a retired teacher.
``They were there looking things over, trying to find out what happened to their property,'' David Davis said. ``That's probably the reason he was walking around the French Quarter.''
During the arrest, another officer, identified as Smith, ordered an APTN producer and a 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.
Smith is an eight-year veteran of the force, while Evangelist and Schilling have served three years each.
Police said Davis was booked on public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation.
The head of the New Orleans police union said the officers told him they had acted appropriately.
``They feel they were justified in their actions and they were using the amount of force necessary to overcome the situation,'' Lt. David Benelli told WDSU in New Orleans.
Mike Silverman, AP's managing editor, said that ``the incidents taped by our cameraman are extremely troubling. We are heartened that the police department is taking them seriously and promising a thorough investigation.''
Blue Angel.. "On another note, there were many cases of reported rapes of very young teenagers (13/14), as stated by a social worker who was interviewed on television the other night... (( did anybody ask the social worker her name?) Nahh.. This is all spin.. MSM spin.. all, or most of it lies.)
Engineers studying the levee believe that the water didn't breach the 17th street, but that the force of the storm surge uprooted it from the bottom." (The water didn't go over the top of the levees at all ..it was something else that flooded the city.)
I don't believe that there was anywhere near the bunch of raping and violence that was reported thru the MSM. I think it was mostly lies to get the American public to think that these citizens acted like animals.. And there for should be tossed out of New Orleans...
I think the Bush bunch was hoping that it would be a Cat. 4.. But is was only a Cat 3, so they blew the Dykes with bombs and also had a 300 foot barge let loose to pound the 17th St. levee into mush.. I want to know who owned the barge, and if it was a contributor the The Bush bunch.
I suspect that "creative destruction and reconstruction" of infrastructure is what feeds the "evil empire".. Unrestrained corporate dominance (backed by no bid contracts), into the maws of Halliburton and The Carlyle Group.. And also how to get rid of them blackies.. forever out of this prime area of real estate.. also it will create a precedence's for government troops and hired mercenaries to kill Americans defending their homes.. and also turn the area into Republican country.. suchs a deal.
This is The Third Way... Right in front of our noses and yet we do nothing but whine on some chat line.
It isn't only 2,000 children it is the 10,000 they say are hidden in the morgue.. Run by Bush supporters.
Well, fish, I think you're right about getting the blackies out of the prime real estate area.
It may be PRIME, but whomever purchases the land will most likely be paying below value now that the town has been leveled and is practically uninhabitable. One of the banks will lend millions to one of their croonies or more, like Trump. He'll buy up a good chunk and develop another Atlantic City or Las Vegas so they can suck us dry at the gambling tables, run drugs in and out of the ports and launder the money through the casinos.
I guess we'll wait and see how it plays out. Who will buy the land, who will develop it and what they will put there.
There is prime vacant real estate available and I'm sure they're all chomping at the bit.
And, yes, as usual, the contracts for clean-up are awarded through no-bid proposals.
I cant understand why people in the U.S...with ALL thats going on are not lining up to leave...well actually they are!
Don't get me started. This was one of the biggest propaganda ploys of the neocons against those of us who protested their phony "War on Terror" from its inception, to wit: "If you don't llike this country, then go somewhere else."
Many of us have been trying to do just that, but it is by no means as easy as it looks. Legal emigration requires the consent and permission of both countries involved, and to date I have noted very few nations offering sanctuary to persecuted Americans, despite the vocal foreign criticisms of the current administration. :-x
\"...if the American people ever find out what we have done, they will chase us down the streets and lynch us.” George H. W. Bush, Sr., 1992.