Man can revive suit against New Orleans over police beating

Nov 28, 2021, 4:36 PM | Updated: 4:39 pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal appeals court says a Hispanic Iraq War veteran can revive his lawsuit over a beating by two New Orleans police officers who he said called him a “fake American.”

The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Jorge Gomez on Nov. 18.

Gomez is a U.S. native who was raised in Honduras and served with the National Guard in Iraq. He encountered the two off-duty officers inside a bar on the night of July 24, 2018.

Gomez was wearing fatigues and a beret. He said the officers, both of whom are white, questioned his military service and called him a “fake American” before beating him outside.

The New Orleans Police Department quickly fired both officers. Officer John Galman eventually pleaded guilty to simple battery, while Officer Spencer Sutton pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace.

In July 2019, Gomez sued the city and the former officers in federal court.

However, U.S. District Judge Barry Ashe found that the city wasn’t liable in the lawsuit because Sutton and Galman were nothing more than “private citizens in a bar fight.”

Gomez argues that Sutton and Galman were acting like police officers, including identifying themselves as such when they called 911.

“These allegations are key,” the circuit court panel said in its unsigned opinion. “A victim usually does not follow orders from someone who just attacked him without good reason to do so. He is even less likely do so when — as alleged here — the victim was in the process of escaping his attackers.”

The panel was made up of Judges Carl E. Stewart, James Ho and Kurt Engelhardt.

In a concurring opinion, Ho called the question of whether the city could be held responsible at this point a “close case.” However, he added that he was “happy” to reverse Ashe on the point.

“If the allegations in this case are true, the officers have not merely brutalized one man — they have badly undermined public trust in law enforcement. And unfortunately, the misconduct alleged here is not unique,” he said.

In a statement, New Orleans police spokesperson Gary Scheets noted that the officers were quickly suspended.

“While NOPD cannot comment specifically on active litigation, the department’s swift action related to the suspension and subsequent termination of these two officers is a clear statement that this sort of behavior was not, and will not be tolerated at NOPD,” Scheets said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Memphis power company rejects TVA’s long-term deal

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The utility company in Memphis, Tennessee, said Wednesday it has rejected a 20-year contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority but will remain the power provider’s largest customer for the “foreseeable future.” Memphis Light, Gas and Water’s Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to turn down the contract offered by TVA, which provides […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Closing prices for crude oil, gold and other commodities

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for January delivery fell $2.24 to $72.01 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude for February delivery fell $2.18 to $77.17 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline for January delivery fell 7 cents to $2.08 a gallon. January heating oil fell 14 cents to $2.78 a gallon. January natural gas rose 25 cents to $5.72 […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

1 person hurt in shooting outside suburban Atlanta Walmart

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — Police in suburban Atlanta say one person was shot and injured Wednesday in a shooting near the automotive center at a Walmart store. Investigators said two groups of people had a dispute outside the store in Cobb County and shots were fired, news outlets reported. The person who was shot was […]
13 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks after touring the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company facility in...
Associated Press

Biden signs #MeToo law curbing confidentiality agreements

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed legislation curbing the use of confidentiality agreements that block victims of sexual harassment from speaking publicly about misconduct in the workplace. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden had acted on the bipartisan Speak Out Act, which bars the use of nondisclosure agreements that employees or contractors are […]
13 hours ago
2 Chainz poses for a portrait on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, in Los Angeles. The Grammy Award-winning rap...
Associated Press

2 Chainz hosts Amazon Music live concerts using NFL platform

LOS ANGELES (AP) — 2 Chainz wants to capitalize off the NFL’s huge “Thursday Night Football” platform to feature some of the world’s most popular musical performers on Amazon Music’s live concert series. The Grammy winner is the host of “Amazon Music Live,” a weekly live show that streams on Prime Video after “Thursday Night […]
13 hours ago
Mark Hager, left, positions a camera with the help of Anthony Lucia, right, as captain Al Cottone w...
Associated Press

Could trawler cams help save world’s dwindling fish stocks?

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — For years, Mark Hager’s job as an observer aboard New England fishing boats made him a marked man, seen as a meddling cop on the ocean, counting and scrutinizing every cod, haddock and flounder to enforce rules and help set crucial quotas. On one particularly perilous voyage, he spent 12 days […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Man can revive suit against New Orleans over police beating