News| Race In America | New Orleans Cops Plead 'Not Guilty' to Battery Charges

Posted: 02/11/2008 04:10 PM EST

Posted Oct. 10, 2005 -- The three New Orleans policemen charged with beating 64-year old Black man Robert Davis on tape, have plead not guilty today to charges of battery.

The cops, identified as Lance Schilling, Robert Evangelist and S.M. Smith, have been suspended without pay since Sunday, will now face a trial date set for Jan. 11.

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"We have great concern with what we saw," said police spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo, "This department with take immediate action."

The videotape, shot by an Associated Press reporter, shows one of the three cops punching Davis at least four times in the head. Another knees Davis while he is down and punches him as well. The incident took place on the sidewalk outside a Bourbon Street bar last Saturday night. 

Another policeman is shown assaulting Associated Press producer Rich Matthews yelling "I've been here for six weeks trying to keep myself alive! And you [expletive] want to come and [expletive] up my city!" The cop later idenitifies himself as Smith.

Details about the policeman shown are still unclear, but it appears that at least two of the officers are Federal agents, possibly sent in to help with Katrina.

Pictures of Davis show him face-down on the concrete, handcuffed with blood streaming down his arm. Davis, who was booked for public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation, was released to police custody after being treated in a hospital.

According to an AP story, Defillo claims that this case is not about race.

"Our police officers are working under some very trying times. So it's a difficult time, but it doesn't excuse what our jobs are supposed to be."

DISCUSS NOW: Is this another issue of race-based beatings by cops or do you think New Orleans cops are overstressed and overworked due to the Katrina clean-up? What punishment should the three officers face? Click "DISCUSS NOW" to comment.

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