Police beat retired teacher

By Mary Foster The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS – Two fired New Orleans police officers and one current officer were indicted yesterday in the videotaped beating of a retired teacher in the French Quarter last fall.

The Oct. 8 beating of Robert Davis, 64, was caught on videotape by an Associated Press Television News crew covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Earlier, the grand jury had heard from Davis, who told reporters as he entered the courthouse that he barely remembers the attack and would not be able to recognize the officers who beat him. But Davis said he thought the three men deserved stiffer charges than the misdemeanor offenses they were originally charged with.

Robert Evangelist, 36, was charged with false imprisonment while armed with a dangerous weapon and second-degree battery; Lance Schilling, 29, was charged with second-degree battery; and Stewart Smith, 50, was charged with simple battery, according to a statement from District Attorney Eddie Jordan.

Evangelist and Schilling were fired after the incident; Smith was suspended but remains with the police force.

False imprisonment, the most serious of the charges, carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Second-degree battery is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2000 fine, Jordan said. Simple battery is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a $500 fine.

Davis spent more than an hour testifying about the beating, which left him lying on the street, hands cuffed and blood flowing from his head and face. Afterward, he told reporters that he still has headaches and back problems and even had to interrupt his testimony to take medicine.

“It went all right,” he said, adding, “but I can’t tell you anything. I’ve been sworn to secrecy.”