Alleged Beating by Cop Is Caught on Tape

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," February 20, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: It's time now for Big Justice. An alleged beating by a cop and it is all caught on tape. A woman was arrested for driving under the influence in Shreveport, Louisiana and she ended up in a hospital after being interrogated by police. Now, the scuffle is seen on the video, but then the camera is shut of, or the lens is covered and the next thing that you see is a woman lying in a pool of her own blood on the floor. The woman had severe cuts and bruises on her face, several broken teeth and a broken nose. The cop in the alleged beating has since been fired but he claims that the woman fell.

• Video: Watch the beating

JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: Prosecutors and even the U.S. Justice Department are now investigating the case. Meanwhile, the police chief says he was shocked by what he saw on the tape.


HENRY WHITEHORN, SHREVEPORT, L.A. POLICE CHIEF: I have had an opportunity to view the tape. I was outraged at what I've learned. And I immediately ordered an internal affair investigation be conducted into this incident. That investigation determined that numerous policy violations have occurred.


GIBSON: FOX News senior judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano is here now. Now, judge, you know, we say it is a police beating caught on tape, but it's really not.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SR. JUDICIAL ANALYST: It's not. If there was a beating, it's not caught on tape, which makes the problem of proof a little more difficult, and also exonerates the criminal activity.

GIBSON: (INAUDBLE) any doubt about with the captain.

NAPOLITANO: It doesn't seem to be any doubt. Well, it's almost impossible for her to have sustained those injuries. And you and I saw about 21 different photographs of her. We just showed one or two on the screen. It'd be almost impossible for her to have sustained those injuries on her own without a beating, but if he covered the tape, that's obstruction of justice. That's destruction of evidence. That's two charges right there before he even lays a hand on her.

NAUERT: Now, he says or the police force says that part of their protocol is they give someone a breathalyzer test and then, they turn it off. So, is that any kind of excuse?

NAPOLITANO: Dealing with incarcerated people who are obviously drunk is a very difficult problem. You never do it alone and you don't see another police officer there. There are very, very detailed protocols as to what to go through in order to prevent the person from injuring themselves. You don't want them to be uncuffed, but you don't want them to be totally helpless. That's why you do it in an environment where it's difficult for them to hurt themselves and there's always another police officer there. So, he violated many basic protocols, but if he beat her and it appears as though he did, you're talking about aggravated assault, because he broke her bones. You're talking about a violation of her civil rights. You're talking about administering punishment without being authorized by a court. You're talking about 20 years in jail.

GIBSON: Judge, does he have a defense?

NAPOLITANO: You know, if you would ask me about that about Rodney King when we first saw the first tape, I would have said, no. But you and I and the cops, we know that the cops in California, they were acquitted in the first trial because of what the tapes that weren't shown publicly revealed. His take is going to be I didn't do it she's too drunk to remember what happened. She will certainly remember a beating, whether drunk or not administered of course in that kind of injury.

NAUERT: Judge, she seems pretty lucid. This tape is posted on the web and it's about 20 minutes long. Throughout the tape, she'd just kept asking, I want to make a phone call. I want to make a phone call. I want to make a phone call. And he said to her, you're not allowed to.

NAPOLITANO: She is allowed to make a phone call. Look, we are seeing a phenomenon recently. Doug Kennedy did a piece recently on the severely paralyzed young man in a wheelchair where the cops just dumped him in the wheelchair. Look at, this and then, they begin to beat him and kick him as they're picking him up. I mean, this is behavior that is unacceptable in a civilized society. We give these men and women guns and badges because we trust them. We obviously have given guns and badges to people not worthy of that trust. And they have to be prosecuted.

NAUERT: Judge, let me quickly ask you. There've been two other excessive force complaints against this officer who was fired in this woman's case.


NAUERT: Does she got a better case against him now because of that?

NAPOLITANO: Yes, she does, because that type of information, if it results in a conviction or civil judgment against him, will be introduced in her lawsuit against him and against the state of Louisiana.

GIBSON: Judge Andrew Napolitano. Judge, thank you very much.

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