Two off-duty Louisiana police officers were fired from force after beating Hispanic National Guardsman to a pulp outside a local bar, calling him a ‘fake American’
John Galman, 24, and 26-year-old Spencer Sutton were charged with two counts of simple battery and fired from the New Orleans Police Dept after the Tuesday altercation near the Mid-City Yacht Club
Galman, 24, and 26-year-old Sutton both pled not guilty on Wednesday but still had to leave the force
Authorities said that evidence showed the pair were ‘clearly’ the aggressors in their attack against 36-year-old George Gomez
Gomez, 36, sustained cuts to his face and severe bruising and swelling as a result of the attack
Further charges, including possible hate crimes ones, may be added later on
Off duty New Orleans cops John Galman, [left] and Spencer Sutton [right] pled not guilty to simple battery charges and were fired from the Police Dept
Two white New Orleans police officers have been fired after they were accused of beating a Hispanic man who they allegedly called a ‘fake American.’
John Galman, 24, and 26-year-old Spencer Sutton were charged with counts of simple battery after the Tuesday altercation near the Mid-City Yacht Club. They pled not guilty on Wednesday.
But NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison said on Thursday that the investigation ‘could very well lead to further charges,’ according to the Times-Picayune.
He also added that the case would be looked into for being a hate crime.
Harrison said that evidence showed that the pair were ‘clearly’ the aggressors in their attack against George Gomez.
‘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,’ Harrison’s statement said, according to The Advocate.
‘The swift pace at which the Public Integrity Bureau investigated this incident and the decisive actions taken by the NOPD … by arresting the officers and starting the termination process clearly demonstrate how seriously our department views their actions.’
Gomez, 36, sustained cuts to his face and severe bruising and swelling as a result of the attack. He was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday.
Recalling the events of the attack, Gomez – who describes himself as a U.S. native who moved to Honduras before returning back to New Orleans – said that neither of the officers identified themselves as NOPD.
The two assailants, who are white, allegedly told Gomez that they did not like that he was wearing a camouflage shirt and bandana.
‘He asked me if I was American. I told him yes, and he got mad because he said I was fake,’ said Gomez, who speaks both English and Spanish.
Gomez explained to the two officers that he served in the Louisiana National Guard but asserts that wasn’t enough for the two.
He shared that he had seen them at the same bar before, but they had never had a confrontation before, WWL-TV reports.
The man said that he tried to leave the bar after it closed for the night, but the two officers refused to let him leave.
‘We are gonna kill you,’ he said that the pair threatened to him before they began beating him.
Neighbors recalled hearing Gomez screaming for help from down the street.
‘They just beat him in the head,’ one said. ‘The whole neighborhood, I believe, heard it. You had to. He was screaming.’
Gomez had a cane with him and he tried to use it to ward off the attackers.
Outnumbered, Gomez had a cane with him and he tried to use it in a futile effort to ward off the attackers..
‘I tried to defend myself, but I couldn’t,’ Gomez added.
An investigation is still underway to determine if Sutton and Galman, who graduated from the New Orleans Police academy in December, will receive any additional charges.
The two were said to have still been on their probationary period since joining the force. Incidentally Gomez was born in the United States, and raised in Honduras before returning to New Orleans. Police chief Harrison said: “We wanted to be sure that citizens know that the behavior that you saw is not and never will be tolerated. We took very decisive and strong action against them with the evidence that was brought to us.”
Jorge Gomez, who turned 39 Thursday, came forward to local media as the victim in the beating and said that prior to the physical fight, officers questioned his military service and one of them called him a “fake American.”
After the ordeal Gomez was hospitalized that morning and later released. A relative said he returned to the hospital Tuesday evening because of extreme pain.