Man taped being beaten by New Orleans police says he hadn't drunk for 25 years

A 64-year-old retired teacher accused of being drunk and resisting arrest, and whose beating by city police was caught on videotape, insists that he has not had a drink in 25 years. Police, however, argue differently and the officers' lawyer, Frank DeSalvo, said they arrested a stumbling Davis to protect him from himself.

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. Davis was expected in court Wednesday morning.

"They've got nothing," attorney Joseph Bruno said earlier this week.

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

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.

Bruno said his client planned to file a civil suit against the city.

The beating has put another unwanted spotlight on the city's beleaguered police force following Hurricane Katrina. The U.S. Justice Department also has opened a civil rights investigation stemming from the incident.

Davis said earlier this week that he had wandered into the French Quarter in search of cigarettes before the confrontation. "I didn't do anything," said Davis, who said he had approached a mounted police officer to ask about the city's curfew.

Another officer on foot "interfered and I said he shouldn't," Davis said. As he crossed the street, Davis said, he was hit and eventually thrown to the pavement.

Davis and his lawyer said no blood or breath tests for drunkenness were administered following Davis' arrest. New Orleans police said they typically do not test people arrested for public intoxication. Spokesman Marlon Defillo said judges traditionally rely on an officer's expertise.

Davis said he had returned to New Orleans from Atlanta to inspect properties owned by family members. He said he was no longer sure he'll return permanently to the city he has called home for 28 years.


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