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New Orleans police fired for roles in beating

From Laura Bernardini
CNN

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Davis said he was talking to an officer when another policeman interrupted, triggering the altercation.

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New Orleans (Louisiana)
Police
Justice and Rights

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- Two New Orleans police officers were fired Wednesday for their roles in the videotaped beating of a 64-year-old man being arrested in the French Quarter, a police spokesman said.

The altercation in October has led to a federal civil rights investigation and criminal charges being filed against three police officers.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley initially suspended the two officers -- Robert Evangelist and Lance Shilling -- without pay after a number of law enforcement officials were seen on videotape striking Robert Davis during an arrest, Capt. Juan Quintone said.

A third officer, Stuart Smith, also was suspended without pay for 120 days for his role. All three officers are white. Davis, a retired teacher, is black.

Two unnamed FBI agents, in New Orleans to help with post-Katrina security, also were involved in the incident. Their status was unclear.

Agency spokesman Stephen Kodak told CNN on Wednesday that the FBI does not publicly discuss disciplinary actions taken against its agents -- if any were administered -- and would comment only if criminal charges were filed against them.

"I haven't heard anything on these two individuals," he said.

An attorney for the police officers insists that his clients followed police procedure in trying to restrain Davis. The officers claimed Davis was intoxicated, an allegation he denies. (Full story)

Davis said he returned to New Orleans to check on two pieces of property he owns in the city's Ninth Ward, which was flooded after Hurricane Katrina.

While talking to one of the police officers about the city's curfew, another policeman interrupted their conversation, initiating a dispute, Davis told CNN.

"I told him that was very unprofessional," Davis said. "I proceeded to walk on across the street, at which time he punched me, I guess, and from there I don't remember much other than a lady in the crowd, I guess just a bystander, who kept hollering, 'He didn't do anything.' "

All three police officers pleaded not guilty to charges of battery and were released after posting bail. (Full story)

Davis also pleaded not guilty to charges of public intoxication, battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and public intimidation. A January 18 trial date has been set.

Despite the civil rights investigation, Davis' attorney, Joseph Bruno, said in October that Davis does not think the incident was racially motivated and that it was merely a case of "a couple of rotten apples that need to be dealt with." (Full story)

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