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New Orleans officer fired in '05 beating can go back to job

  • Story Highlights
  • Appeals court orders reinstatement of officer in videotaped Bourbon Street incident
  • Officer had appealed to city's Civil Service Commission, which upheld termination
  • Newspaper: Beaten man's suit against city settled last month for undisclosed sum
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NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- A New Orleans police officer who was fired after the 2005 beating of an unarmed man on Bourbon Street was ordered reinstated to his job by an appeals court, the court clerk told CNN on Thursday.

Robert Evangelist was acquitted of charges related to the beating in 2007 but lost his job as a police officer.

Robert Evangelist was acquitted of charges related to the beating in 2007 but lost his job as a police officer.

Barring an appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court, Robert Evangelist can return to his job on the police force, said the clerk with Louisiana's 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling was issued Wednesday.

The beating of Robert Davis in October 2005 attracted international attention, as it was captured on videotape by The Associated Press and its aftermath was recorded by a CNN photojournalist. The images, broadcast worldwide, added to the woes of the New Orleans Police Department after Hurricane Katrina's devastation in the city.

Evangelist was charged with false imprisonment while armed with a dangerous weapon and second-degree battery in the incident. He was acquitted of the charges in July 2007.

Another officer, Lance Schilling, also was charged with second-degree battery, and he and Evangelist were fired. Schilling committed suicide in June 2007.

Evangelist appealed his termination to the city's Civil Service Commission, which upheld the firing, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He then appealed to the 4th Circuit Court.

A third officer, Stuart Smith, was suspended from the force for 120 days but allowed to keep his job. He initially was charged with simple battery against an Associated Press producer, but the charge was later dropped.

Davis, who was 64 at the time, has said he does not remember the incident. He said he asked a mounted police officer about the city's curfew and then walked away, only to be "sucker-punched" by another officer shortly afterward. Davis denied allegations he had been drinking at the time, saying he does not drink. He has said he suffers aftereffects from the beating.

Davis' federal lawsuit against the city was settled last month for an undisclosed amount, the Times-Picayune reported Thursday.

His attorney, Stephen Bruno, told the newspaper Wednesday he was surprised by the appeals court ruling.

"He is not fit to be a school crossing guard, " Bruno said of Evangelist. "He does not have the moral character to be police officer, and have the power and the force to have a gun and a Taser."

CNN's Carolina Sanchez contributed to this report.

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