Update on the Robert Davis Beating
Mr. Davis, a retired school teacher testified for over an hour in a grand jury indictment of three officers involved in his beating. Officers Robert Evangelist, 36, and Lance Schilling, 29, were charged with second degree battery against Mr. Davis, punishable by up to five years in prison. Evangelist was also indicted on a charge of false imprisonment, which carries a 10-year maximum prison term. Previously, the officers had each been issued a municipal summons for simple battery. While both battery charges are defined as the intentional use of force or violence, second-degree battery is committed "when the offender intentionally inflicts serious bodily injury" involving "unconsciousness, extreme physical pain or protracted and obvious disfigurement," according to state law. Officer Stuart Smith, 50, was charged with battery against a reporter. When a AP reporter held up his credentials, Smith grabbed him, jabbed him in the stomach and delivered a profanity-laced tirade. District Attorney Eddie Jordan declined to say whether he showed the video to the grand jury, but he called it "very important" evidence. When asked if the false imprisonment charge meant that Davis should not have been arrested, Jordan said that would be "a fair inference." Jordan went on to say the indictments "send a clear and unmistakable message that lawlessness will not be tolerated, whether by civilians or law enforcement officers."
The videotape shows an officer hitting Davis at least four times on the head. Davis twisted and flailed as he was dragged to the ground by four officers. One officer kneed Davis and punched him twice. The video also shows two FBI agents joining the police in beating Davis. Their role is being investigated by federal officials.
"Without this videotape, I'm sure this case would be swept under the rug," said Davis' attorney, Joseph Bruno. Davis has pleaded not guilty to charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation. His lawyer said this week he expects the charges will be dropped.
Evangelist and Schilling were fired after the beating. Smith was suspended but remains with the New Orleans police force.
Frank DeSalvo, attorney for the officers, claims the indicted officers used necessary force when arresting Davis. "For them to come up with these charges does more to undermine law enforcement than half the criminals running around the streets," DeSalvo said. "It's terrible, and we're going to fight it. They served up this mess, and we're going to make them eat it."
This dish is sounding like etouffee, and it looks like the roux is just about right........
Labels: Robert Davis