Two cops from New Orleans have been arrested and charged for allegedly beating a Latino man at a bar and calling him a “fake American.” These “peace officers” were reportedly off duty when the altercation occurred. These officers blamed Gomez for the incident claiming that he was trailing them and believed Gomez to have been waving a “heavy walking stick” to use as a weapon.
Gomez alleges the “heavy walking stick” was a cane he uses for back problems.
The New Orleans Advocate reported that John Galman and Spencer Sutton — rookies who graduated from the police training academy in December and had not yet completed a required probationary period — were booked on counts of simple battery in connection with an incident that sent the civilian to the hospital.
Recordings of police radio transmissions at the time of the incident described how at least one off-duty officer at the intersection had detained “a subject … armed with a blunt object.”
According to Gomez, one of the men confronted him for wearing military camouflage shirt and pants. The confrontation began over Gomez’s military service. He served in the Louisiana National Guard for five years, a spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News. The two officers allegedly never revealed themselves as officers said Gomez when he encountered them in the Mid-City Yacht Club, which is in the 400 block of South St. Patrick Street, near his house.
“He asked me if I was American,” Gomez said. “I told him yes, and he got mad because he said I was fake.”
Gomez said he told the officer he was born in the U.S. but grew up in Honduras before returning to New Orleans to serve in the National Guard.
The arrested officers reportedly tried to stop Gomez from driving home in his truck and began beating him. He was hospitalized with severe injuries after the incident and has since been released.
“Members of our department are expected to comply with the law and adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct, whether on- or off-duty,” said New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Michael Harrison. “The swift pace at which the Public Integrity Bureau investigated this incident and the decisive actions taken by the [New Orleans Police Department] today by arresting the officers and starting the termination process clearly demonstrate how seriously our department views their actions.”
According to the Advocate:
“Investigators collected video evidence and witness statements which “clearly” established that Galman, 26, and Sutton, 24, were the aggressors in an altercation culminating at Baudin and South Murat streets.”
George Gomez, said he was relieved to learn that Galman and Sutton had been arrested and would be dismissed from the force.
Gomez still had cuts, bruises, scabs and swelling on his face after being discharged from the hospital later Tuesday, when he shared his recollection of the morning’s events with reporters.