Posted Oct. 12, 2005 – Three police officers involved in a violent beating of a Black man Saturday night in Louisiana's French Quarter have been suspended without pay and charged with battery, The Associated Press reports.
The incident, which was caught on tape by an Associated Press photographer, shows two White police officers repeatedly punching Robert Davis, a retired elementary school teacher, as other officers stand by. Officers say Davis was being arrested for public drunkenness. But the 64-year-old says he has not had a drink in 25 years and was not drunk at the time.
Another police officer, also White, grabs a television news producer who holds up credentials and forces him back against a car, prodding him forcefully and warning him profanely to stand back from the scene.
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Federal officials announced Monday they had launched a civil-rights investigation into the apparent beating.
Davis said that he believes the incident says more about post-Katrina chaos than it does about racism.
"Some people want to make it a race thing," Davis said in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday. "I don't. That's demeaning to me."
Davis is scheduled to be in municipal court Wednesday to face charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. Davis wants the charges dropped. His lawyer, Joseph Bruno, plans to seek a financial settlement.
"He needs to be compensated, but that's not what this is all about," Bruno told USA TODAY. "The issue, he said, is reforming the department "from the top to the bottom. Put some competent people in charge."
Davis said the officers should be fired. "They don't need to be on the force, it's not good for the city."
The city attorney and a spokesman for the police department did not return calls seeking comment on Tuesday, USA TODAY reports.
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