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New Orleans Police Practice 'American Sport' on Defenseless Black Man

Members of the ‘brilliant’ New Orleans police force were caught on film practicing ‘yet another area of American sporting prowess’ on a 64-year-old retired school teacher. According to this op-ed article from Frances Le Monde newspaper, this sport is known as, ‘the beating by white police officers of a black man, already under control and completely unable to defend himself.’

By Dominique Dhombres

October 11, 2005

Original Article (French)

Gallant New Orleans Police Apprehend Badly Behaved 64-Year-Old Retired Schoolteacher, Robert Davis, on Saturday
—AP VIDEO NEWS: Unedited Footage of New Orleans Police Beating 64-year-old, October 10, 00:05:08

On Saturday evening in New-Orleans, it’s better not to be black when passing certain of the city’s police officers. Black of skin, if you see. The city police most courageously deserted, as one knows, immediately after the arrival of Hurricane Katrina six weeks ago. This past weekend, members of the force took the opportunity to illustrate yet another area of American sporting prowess: the beating by white police officers of a black man, already under control and completely unable to defend himself. A team of reporters from the Associated Press filmed the scene [See Video on the Right]. One could see a segment of the video on Monday October 10, on the France 2 evening news. For those whose attentions were focused elsewhere, one can summarize the spectacle as a brilliant use of force by those marvelous civil servants, the New-Orleans police force.

Robert Davis, a 64-years-old retired schoolteacher, the color of his skin indisputably black, but who insists that he has not had a drop of alcohol in a quarter of a century, was challenged for public intoxication on a street in the French Quarter. Two white police officers twisted his hands behind his back to put handcuffs on him. And for some unexplained reason, a bit of a tussle ensued, and this trivial encounter degenerated. Did Davis speak up too loudly? It was at this moment that a third white police officer delivered a series of uppercuts that have not yet been seen in the history of boxing. They were delivered from behind, directly to the nape of the neck, and with incredible force.

Robert Davis, Booked for His Bad Behavior

The man falls to ground. He is covered in blood.

All this time, a police officer maneuvered his horse in order to block the camera with the body of his animal. The cameraman nevertheless manages to film the scene. Reinforcements arrive. The journalists from AP are violently challenged by these brilliant police officers. The producer of the broadcast is hustled over to and pushed against a car. Witnesses are physically threatened by other police officers ... "These images are disconcerting. Obviously these agents used more than the necessary amount of force," explained Warren Riley, the (black) chief of police the New-Orleans police. "He has a gift for understatement, the chief," was the droll comment of Alain de Chalvron of France 2.

The three police officers were suspended. But the best came at the end. Robert Davis was charged with public intoxication and ... rebellion.

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