Kicking of cuffed suspect caught on video; officer arrested
GRETNA, La. – A police officer in the New Orleans suburb of Gretna was arrested in connection with a surveillance video that showed him repeatedly kicking a handcuffed burglary suspect earlier this year.
The suspect was face-down on the ground as he was kicked.
Officer Robert Wallow was fired Thursday and arrested Friday on malfeasance and simple battery charges, according to New Orleans media reports.
Gretna police chief Arthur Lawson said he is not happy that it took so long for the video to be brought to his attention following the April 22 arrest. Other officers could be seen in the video. One officer has been placed on administrative leave as an internal investigation continues.
Lawson said the suspect was not seriously injured and never filed a complaint.
The use of excessive force was apparently reported to supervisors with the Field Operations Bureau in the days after Pineda's arrest, Lawson told Nola.comThe Times-Picayune. The supervisors opened a documented internal investigation that included a copy of the video.
The supervisors handled the investigation on a bureau level. But it was not forwarded to the administration as quickly as Lawson would have liked so the department on Sept. 15 opened an internal investigation into the handling of that excessive force report.
Wallow, 47, had been with the department for about 18 months. He has not spoken publicly and records indicating whether he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf were not available Saturday.
Rafael Goyeneche, president of a local law enforcement watchdog group, the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission, said kicks delivered to a prone suspect offering no resistance were clear instances of misconduct.
"That's a battery; that's malfeasance. Administratively, it's unacceptable; criminally, it's unacceptable," Goyeneche said, "unless there's some compelling reason that wasn't captured on tape."