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Published: Wednesday, 12/21/2005

2 New Orleans cops fired, 1 suspended in taped beating


NEW ORLEANS Two of the officers videotaped by the Associated Press beating a man in the French Quarter shortly after Hurricane Katrina were fired today. A third officer was suspended.

Officers Robert Evangelist and Lance Schilling were fired for their role in the beating of 64-year-old Robert Davis. Officer Stuart Smith was suspended for 120 days. Davis is black; the three officers are white.

Evangelist and Schilling were accused of battery on Davis. Smith was accused of battery of a reporter.

All three officers had been suspended without pay since the Oct. 8 incident. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges and face trial Jan. 11.

Davis, a retired elementary school teacher who returned to the storm-struck city to check on his properties, said he was searching for cigarettes in the French Quarter when police grabbed him.

The Associated Press Television News tape shows an officer hitting Davis at least four times on the head. Davis appeared to resist, twisting and flailing as he was dragged to the ground by four officers.

One of the officers kneed Davis and punched him twice. Davis was face-down on the sidewalk with blood streaming down his arm and into the gutter.

A fifth officer ordered APTN producer Rich Matthews and the cameraman to stop recording. When Matthews held up his credentials, the officer grabbed the producer, leaned him backward over a car, jabbed him in the stomach and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade.

Davis later pleaded not guilty to charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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