Wednesday, March 29, 2006

New Orleans grand indicts three in videotaped police beating

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Two fired New Orleans police officers and one current officer, were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on state charges stemming from the Oct. 8 beating of a man in the French Quarter, an incident caught on videotape by an Associated Press news crew covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Earlier, the panel had heard from the beaten man. Robert Davis, 64, told reporters as he entered the courthouse that he barely remembers the attack and would not be able to recognize the officers who beat him. But he said he thought they deserved stiffer charges than the municipal misdemeanor counts they were orginally charged with.

Robert Evangelist, 36, was charged with false imprisonment while armed with a dangerous weapon and second degree battery; Lance Schilling, 29 was charged with second degree battery, and Stewart Smith, 50 was charged with simple battery, according to a news release from District Attorney Eddie Jordan.

Evangelist and Schilling were fired after the incident; Smith was suspended but remains with the force.

False imprisonment carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, second degree battery carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and up to a $2000 fine, and simple battery, a misdemeanor, carries a penalty of up to 6 months in prison and up to a $500 fine, Jordan said.

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