New Orleans police beating victim pleads not guilty

A 64-year-old black retired teacher accused of being drunk and resisting arrest, and whose beating by New Orleans police was caught on videotape, pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

A lawyer for Robert Davis said charges of public intoxication, resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and public intimidation were groundless and that they should be dropped.

Mr. Davis was released on bond and a trial was set for Jan. 18 – a week after the scheduled start of the trial for the officers accused of beating him.

Joseph Bruno has said that his client plans to file a civil suit against the city.

Mr. Davis says he had not been drinking before he was beaten by two police officers, a weekend confrontation taped by an Associated Press Television News crew. Those officers and a third accused of grabbing and shoving an APTN producer have pleaded not guilty to battery charges, reports the Globe.

According to Washington Post, two city officers accused in the beating, and a third accused of grabbing and shoving an APTN producer, are due to go on trial on battery charges a week before Davis' trial.

Davis' lawyer, Joseph Bruno, said the APTN videotape of the confrontation shows his client being brutalized by police for no reason. After the arraignment, however, leaders of the city's police union offered their own interpretations.

Police union officials described Davis as so intoxicated that he staggered down the street, stumbled into a police horse and became belligerent when officers intervened.

DeSalvo said police union officials had "broken the thing down frame by frame" and saw officers trying to bring under control an angry man. "He brought it on by his actions," DeSalvo said.

No tests for intoxication were administered following the arrest. In such cases, judges typically rely on officers' observations, said police spokesman Marlon Defillo.

The officers involved in the incident Lance Schilling, Robert Evangelist and S.M. Smith did not speak during the news conference. DeSalvo said Schilling and Evangelist hit Davis' shoulders, and he denied the arrest was as violent as has been portrayed.

"He clearly was not hit in the face," DeSalvo said.