by Kevin Caruso
December 22, 2005
Two New Orleans police officers have been fired for assaulting Robert Davis, a 64-year-old retired school teacher.
The assault took place in October when Davis was in the French Quarter and asked a police officer on horseback about the city’s curfew, and then, according to Davis’ defense attorney, Joseph Bruno, a second officer approached and “said some ugly things to my client. And my client said, ‘I think that's unprofessional.’”
Davis then walked across the street, Bruno said, and was struck from behind by one of the officers.
Davis was then assaulted by the officers, which included punching Davis , pushing him to the ground, and placing him in a headlock.
The incident was captured both on video and in photographs by members of the press.
Police Superintendent Warren Riley initially suspended the two officers – Robert Evangelist and Lance Schilling – without pay. But after an internal investigation and extensive review, the two officers were terminated.
A third officer, Stuart Smith, was suspended without pay for 120 days for his involvement in the incident.
All of the officers are white and the assault victim, Davis, is black.
Criminal charges have been filed against all three officers and a federal civil rights investigation has been launched.