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Tape Shows Police Hitting Two Men

October 10, 2005|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Two city police officers repeatedly punched a 64-year-old man accused of public intoxication and a third officer hit a television news producer, footage by the producer's cameraman showed.

The three officers were arrested Sunday after questioning and charged with battery in Saturday night's confrontations. They were released and ordered to appear in court at a later date, Capt. Marlon Defillo said.

"We have great concern with what we saw this morning," Defillo said after he and about a dozen other high-ranking Police Department officials watched the footage taped by Associated Press Television News.

The tape showed an officer hitting the 64-year-old, Robert Davis, at least four times in the head Saturday night outside a bar near Bourbon Street. Davis appeared to resist, flailing as another officer and two other law enforcement agents -- apparently federal -- dragged him to the ground. The second city police officer then kneed Davis and punched him twice.

Meanwhile, a third city police officer ordered the producer, Rich Matthews, and the cameraman to stop recording. When Matthews explained he was working, the officer grabbed Matthews and hit him, the tape showed. The officer later identified himself as S.M. Smith.

Police said Davis, 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.

A mug shot of Davis, provided by a jailer, showed his right eye swollen shut, an apparent abrasion on the left side of his neck and a cut on his right temple.

Numerous agencies have sent police to help with patrols since Hurricane Katrina, which could explain the apparent federal presence Saturday.

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