New Orleans police are promising a swift criminal investigation after a violent arrest over the weekend was caught on tape. Monday the officers who have already been suspended were in court facing battery charges.
One of the officers, Stewart Smith, was caught on tape grabbing a TV producer and pushing him into a car. Two other officers were seen beating 64-year-old Robert Davis as they arrested him for public drunkenness. After the skirmish, Davis was charged with resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation.
For a police department struggling to maintain its credibility, this is another setback. In the wake of Katrina, hundreds were accused of deserting their posts while others allegedly took part in looting.
Police officials say many on the force have worked long, pressure packed hours for weeks despite having lost their homes, but on the streets there was little sympathy for the police.
Eric Oubre, a New Orleans resident, said, "Security is supposed to be out here to protect us, not to harm us. It made me have second guesses about coming out here today."
But with tourism a key ingredient to getting New Orleans back on its feet, everyone hopes this incident won't stop others from returning to the Big Easy.