New Orleans Cop acquitted of police brutality in beating of black senior citizen

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Hat Tip: Associated Press, NPR’s News andViews blog. 

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) — A former police officer accused in the videotaped beating of a man in the French Quarter after Hurricane Katrina was acquitted Tuesday by a judge who heard the case without a jury.

“I didn’t even find this a close call,” said District Judge Frank Marullo.

Robert Evangelist, 37, had been charged with beating Robert Davis, 66, during an arrest videotaped by an Associated Press Television News crew the night of October 8, 2005, about six weeks after Katrina.

Evangelist, who elected to have his case heard by Marullo without a jury, pleaded not guilty to second-degree battery and false imprisonment. Marullo acquitted him of both counts.

Marullo watched videotapes of the beating and its aftermath and he noted that Davis could be seen struggling on the tape for several minutes.

“This event could have ended at any time if the man had put his hands behind his back,” the judge said.

Evangelist and Lance Schilling were fired after being accused of the beating. Schilling killed himself June 10.

A third officer, Stuart Smith, was accused of a misdemeanor charge of simple battery against Associated Press producer Richard Matthews. Marullo threw out that charge because prosecutors improperly used a statement he made to police, said Smith’s attorney, Eric Hessler.

Smith served a 120-day suspension and remains on the force.

The officers said Davis, who had returned to New Orleans to check his property, started a confrontation after they stopped him on suspicion of being drunk. Davis, who was booked with public intoxication but never charged, said he hadn’t been drinking.

Davis testified Tuesday that he was headed to buy cigarettes in the French Quarter when he asked a police officer what time a curfew took effect that night. Before the officer could answer, a different officer cut him off, Davis said.

“Those were ignorant, unprofessional and rude officers,” Davis recalled saying as he walked away from the policemen.

Moments later, an officer grabbed him from behind, threw him against a wall and punched his face, Davis testified. His assailant uttered a racial epithet during the attack, he said.

“I don’t remember very much after that point,” Davis said.

Franz Zibilich, one of Evangelist’s attorneys, said his client “acted appropriately and well within police standards.”

Dr. Frances Smith, who treated Davis at an emergency room, testified that he suffered facial fractures. Davis said he still feels lingering physical effects from the attack.

I suppose Lance Shilling killed himself because he knew that some Klansman on the bench would acquit him.

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13 thoughts on “New Orleans Cop acquitted of police brutality in beating of black senior citizen

  1. “From Reconstruction on through the Jim Crow period, many police officials were members of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups that targeted and terrorized the Black community. During the Civil Rights Movement, police routinely assaulted Black children, women, and men with batons, blasted away at us with hoses, and sicced us with fierce dogs in order to terrify us and keep us from challenging White supremacy and privilege. Today, police officers continue to harass, beat, torture, and kill Black people with overwhelming immunity. Indeed, “the way cops perceive Blacks–and how those perceptions shape and misshape crime fighting–is now the most charged racial issue in America.” -Liyah Caprice Brown in “Officer or Overseer: Why police desegregation fails as an adequate solution to racist, oppressive, violent policing in black communities.”

  2. Henry Hale

    This is my first post to this fine blog; I usually just read, because the posters have such fine things to say. When people start to take the law into their own hands and deliver the justice to these types of victims, everyone will cry how barbaric the acts would be. However, it is absolutely ridiculous that police brutality is still defended and allowed in so many areas. It is clearly a Black thing, as SB so eloquently points out. Shame on that judge for allowing such a miscarriage of justice. Where’s Nagin, Jefferson, and crew when it’s time to really step up?

  3. christina

    This is just sick,just upright sick. I feel that that officer should not have been fired, but imprisoned. And for that gentleman Robert Davis, he should sue that bastards for emotional damage,and injury.

    Now not that this matters,but i am white, i feel as though in my belief every single human being is EQUAL. What is with racism, i absolutely cannot tolerate racist people.

  4. Cyrus in Toronto

    I…I…I…ummmm, hmmm, excuse me a moment, stay with me now, I just have to calm down every last flippin aspect of my existence. I am spiritually, physically and emotionally bent outta shape. Can ya feel me New Orleans? I might
    be a Canadian who lives in Toronto but I KNOW you can feel me all the way down there from all the way up here. Are we talking about that sweet man who use to be a school teacher who hasn’t had a drink in years? The one who only wanted a pack of smokes and thought it prudent to inquire about any mandatory curfew? The man who’s blood ran into the gutter while these goon’s brutally beat him? I heard about the one cop who killed himself, so he’s been dealt with and it didn’t cost the taxpayer’s a dime in court costs or legal costs, and saved a bundle by not having to feed and house him in prison. But even better than that, the fact that this other cop had his case thrown out tells me that the same thing would have happened to the one who killed himself. And that means at least New Orlean’s has 1 less bully with a badge to worry about. However, this judge is the one who’s the most terrifying because his stupidity, his ignorance and his abuse of basic human rights sends a message, A LOUD MESSAGE, to every other cop in that city, and we know what message that is don’t we? And don’t hand me that pathetic excuse that “the circumstances these officers were facing due to Katrina” somehow exonerates them because that’s bullshit. They’re TRAINED to handle these kind of situations, and not just once, they go through RE-TRAINing EVERY YEAR! I can’t believe it. THERE’S A VIDEOTAPE DOCUMENTING THIS BRUTAL ASSAULT ON AN INNOCENT 60YR OLD MAN YET THE JUDGE JUST IGNORES IT? He made it sound like the whole case was just a waste of his time, a real inconvienience that only cuts into his drinking time and wastes taxpayer’s money. I’d like him to tell me to my face what he would have done if a case like this showed up in a courtroom with a videotape showing his very own father, or his grandfather being beaten in the same way. If it was blown off as nothing more than a waste of time do you think he might get just a little upset? Unreal.

  5. This online newspaper has effectively replaced the 100 year old established newspaper that never printed the tryth about corruption in a small rural southern county. Brutality is virtually a thing of the past now because of exposure. As they say, the only thing that can destroy darkness is light. Shed a light on corruption and you will see them flee. They always do just like we all would do. We all are scared inside and it is that fear comongled with a false sense of security of having a badge and a gun with a low self esteem that can get someone hurt. No wonder a 54%increase in police getting shot is happening. Also, banning assault rifles will not change a thing either.

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