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Home  >  Topics  >  Investigations

April 18, 2013
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New Orleans police cleared in 'excessive force' case

State Police conclude there was no wrong-doing, and officers used minimal force in a Mardi Gras altercation

By Darian Trotter

NEW ORLEANS — State Police say undercover officers did not use excessive force in the French Quarter take down of two teenagers.

The video shows 9-white plain clothes officers and 2-black teenagers scuffling in the French Quarter.

It raises questions about police brutality.

But an internal investigation by State Police concludes there was no wrong-doing, and officers used minimal force.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter asked, “What do you see in that video? I see an abuse of power,” King replied.

Danatus King is President of the New Orleans branch of the NAACP.

He says the conclusion by State Police is baffling.

In a statement, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu weighs in saying, “Based on what I saw on the video tape, State Police did not handle the incident in the right way.” “Based on what I’ve seen, I believe it was wrong.”

The video appears to show officers tackling two young men suspected of violating the city’s curfew.

It was recorded by video cameras mounted near Bourbon and Conti Streets before Mardi Gras celebrations.

Trotter added, “As gripping as the video may be, State Police say it doesn’t tell the whole story.” “There is no audio; and the video does not show events that may have cause officers to react,” Trotter explained.

In which case, King says the public deserves to know more.

“Any and all evidence that was relied upon by State Police should be released to the public so that the public can get a better understanding as to why the State Police came up with that conclusion,” King said.

“Somebody should release the rest of that tape so that everybody can understand what happened,” said ACLU’s Marjorie Esman.

Esman is working to make sure the teens’ civil rights were not violated.

She agrees the video clip leaves many unanswered questions.

“If in fact it’s not excessive force then we all need to know more about why not; and what happened before the piece of video that we’ve all seen,” Esman said.

State Police concluded no one was struck, hit, or kicked; and no weapons were drawn.

An independent investigation continues by the Department of Justice.

Reprinted with permission from WGNO

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