The New Orleans Police Department looks to be down two officers arresting two of their own and moving towards firing them. New Orleans Police rookies John Galman and Spencer Sutton were arrested after allegedly assaulting George Gomez, a 36-year-old veteran.
According to Gomez’s account of the events, he was trying to walk home from a neighborhood bar and get into his truck when Sutton and Galman approached him, commenting on Gomez’s camouflage military attire and inquiring if Gomez had served, without disclosing that they were police officers. Gomez responded, telling the two officers about his service record. Gomez alleges that he was attempting to leave when the two men stepped in front of his vehicle to stop it and assault him, leaving him with facial bruises and swelling.
As reported by the Advocate, Gomez alleges that the attack was racially motivated.
“He asked me if I was American. I told him yes, and he got mad because he said I was fake.” Gomez, who is Hispanic, says he is originally from the United States, grew up in Honduras, and later returned to the U.S.
Gomez’s version of the events is far different than from an account that law enforcement sources gave the newspaper. They claimed that the two officers did ask about Gomez’s service record after noticing him wearing military attire, and then left the bar, only to find Gomez following them by car. The sources said that Gomez then got out of the car and threatened the cops while holding “a heavy walking stick,” and they responded in self-defense. After the incident, Sutton and Galman contacted other police officers and paramedics to come to the scene, the sources said.
Despite that claim, Galman and Sutton were arrested and charged with simple battery.
Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said in a statement, “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 continued, after noting the department found the two officers to be the aggressors in the situation, “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.”
[Image via WWL screengrab]